Monday, April 12, 2010

F-35 Lightning II - project update (finally) and some screenshots

My apologies for not having posted any update on the F-35 recently... I had not much time to work on it, and I am also at that point in which you keep on making small, almost unnoticeable refinements... and you are never happy with the results.

Anyway, at present the external models for the AA-1 and AF-1 are done. The operational F-35 still needs some modeling/texturing, while the "clean" texture set is done. I'm also tinkering with a couple of other repaints.
The Virtual cockpit is, finally, almost bug free - some MFD freezing still happens, but it is very rare on my machine. Also, I've been working with Jitko Rusev to improve the Virtual-HUD resolution and appearance - with very good results IMHO.
Flight model is also almost ready - with thanks to Roberto Leonardo who provided several improvements and corrections. I'm making some very minor changes here and there...but I am pretty happy of the flight behaviour.

As for the release date - well, its done when its done. I think this project needs roughly 20-25 work hours to be considered "complete", but I really can't tell when I will find that time.... hopefully the release is just few weeks away - I really don't know.

In the meantime... here are some screenshots:

AA-1 model is complete...
...and so is the AF-01 model (this livery is based on a CAD image from LM, AF-01 actually took flight mostly unpainted - I have the "unpainted" livery in the works... but its quality is not on par with the rest of the package, so I'll leave it out - unless I find the time to improve it)

This is the "clean" livery for repaint. No paintkit is available (as I use the photoreal approach) nor it will be - my apologies to repainters... Still, I hope this "clean" texture set will help in making new liveries.

At least three visual models will be included: the AA-1 (initial prototype), AF-01 (weight optimized prototype) and an "operational" F-35 (with proper EOTS and weapon lauchers, and without nose probe). I am also considering adding models with external loads.

Above are a couple of pictures of the new afterburner effects - much better than the Beta 1, IMHO - and hopefully less prone to fx"bleeding" (i.e. special effect misplacement that happens, in FSX, on some machines - usually it disappears by setting the graphic card to "maxiumum quality")
Here is the current cockpit - Most of the bugs of the Beta1 are gone. I'm relatively happy with it - but I'd like to add a couple of functions before the final release.


ScimmiaSpaziale said...

I just realized that the quality of the images is not that good...the jpg compression settings were wrong - My apologies.

Roberto said...

Eh eh, hai ragione. Ormai ci focalizziamo sui particolari e andando avanti di questo passo non sarebbe mai finito. ValĂ  che hai fatto un' eccellente lavoro con questo progetto, e tutti noi non vediamo l' ora che sia pubblicato.
Robby :-)

Anonymous said...

Take your time and finish her right, Dino. What we see now is looking great despite the low-res pic.'s. 8)

We know you'll make it your best work to date; We'll just wait patiently. And please finish the LM "non-painted" repaint, as well; it will just add another nice touch to this package. Finally, please ADD Lotus Lights and the VRSimulations' FLIR HUD on the HMDS; those are MUSTS, IMHO. I know you can, so please do so.

Grazie Mille!

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Thank you very much.
James F. Chams

neutrino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
neutrino said...

Hi, Dino, glad to see the project closer to completion! This is going to be a great plane :)

I have one question - what will be the recommended landing approach speed (full flaps) for the F-35?

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Roberto

Grazie dell'incoraggiamento, del tuo aiuto e del tuo tempo. In quanto a tempo, spero di avere presto quello necessario a finire il tutto in tempi brevi :-)

@ James F. Chams

Quick replies:
Unpainted scheme - I'd like to finish that, but it is very complex (each panel must be colored individually) and the part I've done is not looking as good as the "dark grey"

VRS Light - there is a very good "how to" so it would be doable...but it is a pretty long process, and I am not sure I'll have the time to do it

VRS HMD - This is beyond my knowledge. I should check how they did it.

@ Neutrino

That is a good question indeed...and I am working on it. I assume it to be in the 155-165 range, but I have no reliable sources (apart from some X-35 pirep, but that was almost entirely a different plane).The current flight model is good in most respects but tends to "drop" too much below 160 kts... Still, I'm leaving some tweaking to the flight model for last.

neutrino said...

Hey Dino - 150-160 kts would be my guess too, similar to other Air Force jets. The approach AOA is just as important - no more than 10-11 degrees for better visibility and not to risk damage to the exhaust nozzle from contact with the tarmac. NAVY jets fly at 8 degrees AOA and lower approach speeds (130-140 kts).

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Neutrino

I know - and agree with you assumption. Current landing landing is in the 165Kts/12° area - not far from the goal, so I am confident it can be improved without much work.

By the way, F-35C drop tests data can be a good reference for the F-35C flight model (I'd love to make that and the F-35B...if I only had the time...)

neutrino said...

That's great - I think you can nail the flight model of the F-35C much easier, because there are very narrow constraints when it comes to carrier landings. The rest can be extrapolated from the F-35A given the larger wing area and weight of the CV variant. And I have to say - it's time we fly the successor of the F/A-18 Hornet :)))

Roberto said...

Hi Neutrino.
Don't forget that the actual model is loaded with two 2000Lbs JDAMs.
Without JDAMs the model land at 150Kts/11°AoA.

neutrino said...

Hi Roberto, I can only get it to land at 150Kts/11°AoA without the 2 JDAMs and about 8% of fuel for a gross weight of about 31,000 lbs. At 50% fuel and 2xJDAMS the approach speed jumps to 173 kts at 11°AoA.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Roberto & Neutrino

I think it is more proficient if we discuss this on the basis of the Beta 2 / RC1, once ready - so that we will be on the same page.

And, by the way - thank you both once again for your help

@ other readers of this:
Neutrino has kindly provided the custom HUD for the F-35 project, while Roberto provided several major improvements to the flight model.

Roberto said...

@Dino: Of course... was not a discussion ;-)

@Neutrino: Great job with the HUD,
it's really amazing ;-)


ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Robby the latest build the HUD looks even better :-)