Tuesday, January 19, 2010

F-35 Alpha test Work-in-progress post

Below is a list of issues either known or found in the Alpha build as released to testers yesterday night. This list includes only the "accepted" issues - i.e. things that I acknowledge as actual defects (if compared towards the scope of the project). I will keep this list updated, as reference for me, for the testers and also for anyone interested in the project progress.

Note to testers: no need to rush - I won't have much time until the next weekend. While evaluating the flight model, please keep in mind the fact that the aircraft is loaded with two JDAMs.

UPDATED 23-01-2010

External model

1) Nozzle animation incorrect.
Action: redo animation sequence. Evaluate link to nozzle animation variable of FSX:Acceleration (SP2 compatibility?) or link to rpm for smoother animation - DONE in model build 43
Status:closed - solution approved for Beta - animation sequence redone. Still linked to throttle but closer to the actual behaviour.

2) Jaggies nearby the engine intake aera. Visible on close inspection only, partially due to geometry/smoothing, partially due to self-shadowing algorithm.
Action: evaluate mitigation by local application of Meshsmooth command. It may be impossible to fix completely - but will not be noticeable by most users.
NOTE: Upper to lower side discontinuity verified correct. Minor issue spotted with intake bulge curvature. Inspection highighted UVW misplacement in the engine intake area
Status:open - high priority

3) Excessive gap between engine nozzle and fuselage.
Action: check against photos and eventually modify the mesh.
Status:CLOSED - fixed on model buidl 46

4) Afterburner effect/1: effect poking through A/C fuselage. NOTE: FSX effects positioning an visibility is somewhat dependent on graphic card model and setting. Having the card set in "performance" mode makes things worse. E.g.not perceiveable on my system.
Action: modify .fx file (shrink them a little - check nominal position)
Status: open

5) Afterburner effect/2: flame should be much longer in stage 3. NOTE: a/b flame is confined into the engine nozzle on purpose for F-35B preparation. Also, my experience with "big" flames is not really positive (different users had different results).
Action: evaluate modification in .fx file. Stage 1 effect seems correct if compared to F-35 a/b videos.
Status: open

6) Wheel/tires animation incorrect. Status: CLOSED (Fixed dynamic modle for tires, diameters were wrong)

7) Navigation lights missing. Note: they were left out as all the F-35AA-1 pics I have are showing only anticollision lights. Status: CLOSED (Nav lights placed into the lights subassembly)

8) Covers for auxiliary air intakes missing when using SHIFT+E+4 command. Note: never seen such covers in any picture. Status: CLOSED (Auxiliary inlet cover modeled - but no ribbons as I'm saving polys for the weapons ).

9) Irregular bumps in the external model. Action: modify the extenal model. Sratus DONE: (model build 44) Auxiliary air intake untouched, other bumps geometry modified and new textures.

10) Poor detail in the refuel receptacle. Action: While the comment is correct, I do not have pictures clear enough to make a porper model - Edit: will model a stardard receptacle based on similar devices. Status: CLOSED. Refuel receptacle modeled in build 46

11) Poor detail in the nose landing gear. Action: Increase detail in the 3d model. Status: CLOSED - Mitigated issues with additional gear detail, previously missing.

12) Modeling mistakes in the main gear. Action: evaluate complete redo of the kinematism. Status: Closed on model build 45 - Redone most parts of the main gear and applied new textures.

13) AIM-120 not attached to hardpoints. Action: will model LAU-147 (although not actually mounted in AA-1). Status: CLOSED modeled hardpoints for AA-1 will model LAU-147 for operative model

14) Nose gear door detail/accuracy not good enough. Action: impossible to modify the shape, but will redo the hinges and add the actuator. NOTE: Applies only to AA-1 model - other models have a different door (2 parts). Status: Closed (model build 45 - Redesigned hinge and added actuator and new texture)

15) Request to model the lights in more detail. Action: modify the model. Note: initial evaluation shows that boolean operation is requested: such operation will inhibit model roll-back. Status: CLOSED (No additional modeling, but better texture)

Miscellaneous other actions (not requested by testers):

- Resize main gear wheels / tires - DONE

- Add detail to the main fuselage texture diffuse/spec/bump - DONE

- Evaluate changes in texture brightness /contrast - DONE, also miscellaneous enhancements to AA-1 texture coloring. Note: experiments with primer-only AF-1 texture looking good.

- Fix mistake in texture UVW in the inner side

- Add separate moving part for weapon door hinge - visible on real plane on closer inspection, not modeled DONE

- A/c is sitting rather low on the main gear. Changes to the animation sequence and contact points needed. FIXED

Virtual cockpit

1) Virtual cockpit frame rate low / excessive number of polygons.
Action: optimize virtual cockpit model mainly by removing some of the parts of the external model attached for track IR users (eg. lower surfaces fuselage, flaperons, tails). Evaluate reduction of invisble polys/faces. NOTE: Only one tester has highlighted this issue. Performance seems on par with similar products for the others.
Status: open

2) Temporary HUD useability (keeping this open in case the new HUD/HMD is not available on time)
- Proposal to reduce the size of the 3D part
- Enlarge the G meter text window
- Enlarge various text windows in 2D panel


3) Minor texturing UWV misplacement on cockpit floor.
Action: fix mapping in .mdl file. DONE in VC build 19
Status: CLOSED

4) VC night lighting too bright.
Action: dim the brightness in .fx files.
Status: CLOSED - modified .fx file

5) Incorrect tooltip showing "parking brake" in the battery area.
Action: check .XML embedded in the .mdl. DONE in VC model build 19
Status: CLOSED

6) Miscellaneous autopilot interface:
- Autopilot master hotspot not working. NOTE: A/P master will be part of the FCS panel
- Autothrottle miscellaneous issues. NOTE: At first check it .XML appears correct. I had similar issues in the tomcat.
- Autopilot max bank activation. NOTE: Presence of this command is a mistake and will be removed.
Action: check associated .XML
Status: open

7) Engine needles behaviour not correct
Action: check associated .XML

8) Visual hole aboce the pedals (polygons missing); Action: modify the Vc model (add a cap) Status: CLOSED (VC model build 20)

9) "No Hold" texture stretched above ejection seat; Action: modify the Vc model / texture; Status: CLOSED (VC build 23)

10) "patches" on the side of the Vc glass are unconnected to the canopy; Action: modify the Vc model; Status: Unclear how the thing should look like. CLOSED for now.

11) Explosivc cord not connected to glass; Action: pending evaluation - this was intentional to prevent clipping that happened during initial tests; Status: Closed with no action - Current geometry prevents clipping. Leave as is.

12) Stick movement excessive if compared to real F-35 stick. Action: modify animation sequence. Status: closed (VC model build 20 movement reduced, still not as little as the real one but provides a "visual feedback" that enhances the experience IHMO).

NOTE: Track IR testing generally good. No major issues, apart from the "usual" seat clipping and minor flaws in extreme conditions.

Flight model

1) Excessive top speed. Top speed in excess of 2.05 Mach. Real plane rated 1.6 to 1.8 (varying according to sources).
Action: change the wave drag table in the .air file - DONE
Status: CLOSED - approved for Beta. New wave drag / Mach table makes it extremely difficult to exceed Mach 1.69

2) Weak brakes. Brakes cannot hold the plane still even at relatively low RPMs.
Action:modify brake effectiveness either in the .air or .cfg file - DONE
Status: closed - promoted to beta. The brakes are now strong enough to keep the plane still up to almost full military power. However, brakes seem excessively strong when stopping the plane after landing.

3) A/c prone to yaw instability during takeoff run. NOTE:Verified only with crosswind.
Action: root cause unknown. Check for asymmetric loads. Possibly increase yaw stability/MOI or adjust scalars.
Status: Modified values in the air file parameter. Symmetric load checked and correct. Still happening with significant crosswind (15 kts or above). Should be manageable by most pilots. Awaiting flight test to close. CLOSED. LEFT AS IS FOR BETA TESTING

4) Micro-oscillations while on ground. Probably due to contact points instability.
Action:modify contact points parameters in the .cfg file. NOTE: was not present in earlier build (with incorrect auxiliary contact points) DONE in latest aircraft.cfg
Status: CLOSED

5) Pitch changes depending on throttle setting. FCC/FCS should compensate such effects in the real plane. Effect seems related to center-of-lft vs. center-of-weight misalignment, as proper .air files parameter seem correct.
Action: Check .air and modify a/c balance in order to minimize such effect. NOTE: for FCC/FCS emulation, it may desireable to set to 0 all the secondary effects of aerodynamic surfaces.
UPDATE: All fore/aft loads artificially balanced towards the aerodyamic center. Load is now balanced versus pitch. This is not theoretically correct, but makes up for the FCC/FCS absence. Issue seem mitigated to the point of being acceptable for the vast majority of the users. UPDATE: I forgot to to balance the engine pitch momentum - my bad, thanks Robby.

Status closed: Behaviour balanced in most situations.

6) Pitch changes when activating virtual speedbrake. FCC/FCS should compensate such effects. See 5) - it is probably the same issue.
Action: See 5
Status: Closed. Not completely solved but definitely acceptable.

7) Low roll rate. User report low roll rate for a fighter. NOTE: it is unclear what the actual roll rate should be. Current roll rate seems realistic for a plane with 2 JDAMs and 2 slammers, but may be less agile than real F-16,
Action: Aileron action enhanced by 10% - but awaiting further evaluation and feedback.
Status: CLOSED on latest fligh model - enhanced ailerons effects and travel.
As a good side effect, a/c is more maneuverable at low speeds.

8) Excessive loss of energy during high-G turns. Action: unclear what the target should be for this plane in the depicted configuration. Assuming 5 - 6 g sustainable turn. Will see what I can do. Status: CLOSED with thanks to Roberto Leonardo

9) High AoA dynamics causes excessively low stall speed (75kts). Action: TBD some users are happy with the high AoA dynamics, as in line with some claims by LM. Will evaluate minor changes. Status: open - unclear if it is better to leave it as is. CLOSED. LEFT AS IS FOR BETA TESTING

10) Check landing attitude AoA (approach at 140kts?). Action: TBD - The only information I have is about X-35 whose appoaches were conducted at rather high speeds (155/165 kts). NOTE: Most users report the landing behaviour is good. Status: open - unclear if any action is needed. CLOSED. LEFT AS IS FOR BETA TESTING

11) Full flap deployment happens at low speed. Action: TBD - flap is controlled by FSX via the maneuvering flap option. Check if it possible to modify the speeds, otherwise no action. Status: open. CLOSED. LEFT AS IS FOR BETA TESTING

12) Virtual speedbrakes not much effective. Action: easy fix to the .air file. Status: CLOSED - Boosted speedbrakes effect


- ICAWS (currently not working at all)
- FCS window to include touch screen functions for flaps/brakes/trim/autopilot master switch (note: this may not be realistic as those are typical HOTAS functions...still may have some use for FSX)
- FCS window will show more information
- Context sensitive weapon window pop-up (with no actual functionality)
- Touch screen radio window within the MFD
- Context sensitive HUD backup window within the MFD
- Fuel receptacle/weapon bay opening activation via touchscreen (currently implemented but not working due to an unidentfied bug...)


1) AF-1 vsual model:
- new two piece nose landing gear doors
- new APU exhaust location
- new probes
- jagged fuselage/nozzle interface
- weapon bay: undecided between real and mock JDAM
Livery: still undecided between official artwork or actual primer-only appearance

2) Production F-35 model - same as above but:

- Removal of the nose probe
Livery: Most probably USAF 58th FS "Mighty Gorillas", which I understand is the first confirmed unit to receive F-35s.

3) Generic F-35 model for repaint


1) F-35A Thunderbirds (according to promotional LM artwork).NOTE: would require a special flight/visual model (with no weapons)

2) F-35A with external loads

3) F-35B STOVL version. Would require a lot of work to modify the visual model. Also, it would have the "superflaps" flight model.I know it is pretty lame but STOVL dynamics is not natively implemented in FSX... FSUIPC.dll methods exist but I do not want the model to be dependant on external modules

4) F-35C Would require a lot of work to modify the visual model and extensive flight test for carrier trials.

5) Custom sounds - I know it would be nice...

Color key:
Green - issue solved, or mitigated to the point is acceptable or not perceived by most users
Yellow -issue open, and could be perceived as product defect by many users. Awaiting action or investigation. Or issue open, mitigated to the best of my knowledge but will still be perceived as defect by users. Or issue open but appears easy to fix.
Red - root cause not identified as of today. Or the problem is beyond my knowledge or impossible or difficult to solve.


tutmeister said...

Understood your previous responses and I will remember the loadout (!).

However, maximum speed of 2.05 WAS achieved with maximum realism set in FSX, minus one notch back and at around 75% on the landing realism, as I fly a lot of helicopters and this is the best compromise between real life and sim.

Also, wheels do turn when brake is released. The issue I see, is that the rear (main) undercarriage remains static while the aircraft is being dragged forward under power with brakes on, but the front wheel acts correctly and turns.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Tutmeister

Ok - the max mach is an easy fix (via the Wave drag table). Fact is that with 100% realism, I had the aircraft to wreck due to overstress before making it to Mach1.7 (by the way overstress happened for no apparent reason).

Wheel behaviour is then correct (fo FSX standards). Main wheels don't move (because you are braking) but they slide due to engine thrust. This is not realistic but it is the FSX behaviour in such cases. Will raise the brakes effectiveness so that that can hold the plane up to full mil thrust.

tutmeister said...

OK. That reminds me, I do not have overstress set to on due to issues I often encounter, I'll have to re-test with that setting on! Apologies.

Anonymous said...

@Dino Cattaneo,

Would you kindly (or have one of your testors) add A2A's Shockwave 3D Redux Light configurations?

James F. Chams

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@James F.Chams

Unfortunately I do not own the Shockwave package - while I've heard it is cool I usually prefer buying sceneries and planes...
Anyway, one of the testers has set them to work with the F-35

By the way, I did not sent you the beta d/l link just because I have not received any reply to my last mail.

Anonymous said...

@Dino Cattaneo,

Thanks for the Shockwave Lights.

Also, I didn't receive an email at all from you either. I've checked my spam filters and your email is not being blocked. If you want you can re-sent it to me here: James_Chams@Hotmail.com

James F. Chams

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Anonimo italiano

Scusa se ho cancellato il tuo commento - cmq grazie dell'avviso ma non ti preoccupare, conosco il soggetto...

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ James F. Chams

I had several issues with my email too. Actually the changes with respect of the Alpha build are so many that I don't think it makes sense to share it any further.

As for the Shockwave lights (as well as other add-ons) I am not providing support/configuration at the release date - I want to keep the project small and "simple" so that I can successfully deliver something.
I'm sure mods will spawn here and there, and I will probably gather them somewhere.

For now, I'm 100% focused on the "base package".

SpazSinbad said...

Dino said: "7) Low roll rate. User report low roll rate for a fighter. NOTE: it is unclear what the actual roll rate should be. Current roll rate seems realistic for a plane with 2 JDAMs and 2 slammers, but may be less agile than real F-16..."
Have not been able to test the aircraft myself (today maybe) however the above statement is worth a reply. All test pilot accounts say that the F-35 is more agile than any F-16 - in some cases (not all) it is equivalent to F-22. Another comment about condition described says it is just like having more fuel (without any extra drag due to internal munitions) so only performance hit is due to weight - nothing else. Hope to get to testing today. :-)

schmooze13 said...

You are a busy man Dino. Sounding more and more impressive by the second. Will you be adding white or grey for repaints? Because I'm sure many people would like to display there own nations colours.

schmooze13 said...

You are a busy man Dino. Sounding more and more impressive by the second. Will you be adding white or grey for repaints? Because I'm sure many people would like to display there own nations colours.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...


Yes - I've read those reports and listened to the interviews... I just find it hard to believe that a clean F-35 with low fuel rolls faster than an F-16 in similar condition - just my impression as by looking at their shape and size, one would say that F-35 roll MOI would be greater... Then, "agility" of course it is not limited to empty roll-rate :-)

Anonymous said...

@Dino Cattaneo,

"I had several issues with my email too. Actually the changes with respect of the Alpha build are so many that I don't think it makes sense to share it any further."

My assisted suggestions, if you wanted, were for Programming purposes towards the VC MFD's
HOTAS features programming. I don't think I'll need the ALPHA for that since that is part of the VC's interface which you are still working on.

"As for the Shockwave lights (as well as other add-ons) I am not providing support/configuration at the release date - I want to keep the project small and "simple" so that I can successfully deliver something."

I understand; adding that into the Aircraft.cfg files is not too hard to do and makes the model more "sell-able" because it is far better looking than the FSX default lights.

"I'm sure mods will spawn here and there, and I will probably gather them somewhere.

For now, I'm 100% focused on the "base package"."

Having a good MFD gauge setups, a good sound set, and correct lighting is going to make this a very attractive package IMHO, especially in light of the fact that the VTOL version is NOT yet included. But, your goals are good and I look forward to what you will produce.

James F. Chams

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ James F. Chams

Thanks, but while agree on most of your points, the fact is that I want to keep this project simple and "small" - it is the only way I can deliver something in a resonable time, since I have a full-time "real life" job as design engineer...and well...I have also a life :-)!

So, for now, I'll stick to the original targets of this project.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Schmooze13

Making "paintkits" from photoreal texture sets is not that easy - but I should be able to provide a "neutral" scheme.

Anonymous said...


Hai fatto bene a cancellarlo. Lo avevo inserito più che altro per tutelarmi poichè volevo evitare che un suo coinvolgimento potesse ritardare la release del prodotto ;)

...timori fondati (http://www.fsdreamteam.com/forum/index.php?topic=2624.msg21874#msg21874)

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Anonimo

Sto facendo il possibile per "contenere" le dimensioni del progetto...e riuscire a "consegnare" qualcosa... purtroppo questo significa che il progetto potrebbe essere migliore, ma del resto il tempo è quello che è.

Tutto procede secondo i piani.L'unico possibile rallentamento è il fatto che sarebbe davvero una figata fare anche F-35B e F-35C - ma ci vorrebbero altri 2/3 mesi...

Anonymous said...


Io fossi in te finirei l'F-35, poi con calma, potresti dedicarti all'F-35B e C e venderlo come expansion del modello di base. E poi non farti stressare e prenditi il tempo che ritieni opportuno.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Anonimo

In realtà, lo stress viene più dal lavoro "reale" che dagli hobby :-)

Per quanto concerne il Lightning... l'obiettivo è fare un F-35A fatto bene. Mancano alcuni dettagli, ma direi che ci siamo quasi. Direi che ci vogliono ancora un paio di settimane e non di più...

Però,la tentazione di includere i suoi fratelli (o meglio "cugini") è davvero forte...

Anonymous said...

@Dino Cattaneo,

Life is difficult for all of us, too. But, I certainly am grateful that you are taking your time (out of your personal time) to make this project as good as it can be. And if you want a few more weeks to finish it; [u]we can all wait[/u] because the last thing everyone wants is countless posts complaining that the product is broken and doesn't work correctly.

Anyway, don't be too stressed out... I'll support all your efforts. ;)

James F. Chams

Anonymous said...

@Dino Cattaneo,

"Tutto procede secondo i piani.L'unico possibile rallentamento è il fatto che sarebbe davvero una figata fare anche F-35B e F-35C - ma ci vorrebbero altri 2/3 mesi..."

Also, I'm sure that you and many others would like the CTOL model released soon so not postponing that might be a good idea to make everyone happy. However, If you want to release another addon-payware for those models, I wouldn't mind waiting a few extra months and paying for those as well.

James F. Chams

schmooze13 said...

When you say you would like custom sounds. What are the sounds currently?

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

Current build is aliasing the sounds from the stock Acceleration Hornet.

I've been told that it works great with Iris' F-16 sound package but never tried it.

At present, the model relies on Acceleration also for the HUD. Otherwise seems to work fine with SP2.

schmooze13 said...

That's no too bad. The aerosoft f16 sounds are very impressive. Mabye you should consider talkin to turbine sound studios. They do really good payware sounds.

sc-mickeymouse_17 said...

Check your inbox at hotmail, Please

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