Tuesday, May 31, 2011

T-45C 3D Modeling complete

After some test flights and thoughts, I'd say that the the 3D modeling of the T-45C is complete and ready for testing.
The next step is go through the NATOPS and see if there are any major mistakes in flight and system modeling I am unaware of. I am quite happy with the flight model, and I think it does its job nicely for a FSX carrier trainer. Also, it is well beyond the scope of this project to provide 100% realism and system modeling. Still, a final review before the testing phase is needed - and doing so I am also preparing a (sort of) flight manual.

Should everything go as planned, the Beta test build will be ready by the next weekend. I am still undecided if it will be a "public" Beta or a restricted one. Both have pros and cons - I do prefer a "restricted" one, but the plane is flyable (and "enjoyable") as it is right now... and I don't know when I will have time to fix the bugs in future...so a public release will allow a lot of people to fly a Goshawk that, right now, is already much better than the existing one...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Payware F-35 - closing sales, apologies for the lack of support and 2.0 version.

First flight of the real AF-8, with full mission systems and USAF markings

As the real F-35 project is getting momentum (with first flight of AF-8 and CF-3 pre-series aircrafts) I have reviewed the status of my payware F-35 project.

First, I'd like to thank you all for the support and appreciation - I think it has been a huge success by my standards.

Second, I want to apologize for the lack of support on this project. Unfortunately my usual email address, which is also the one I used for FSX, is bloated by spam and junk emails to the point it is unusable - or more accurately, to the point in which I should spend several hours a week browsing through the messages. Last time I checked I had 1150 (!) unread emails, out of the first 50, just one was an actual, meaninful message.
Again, my most humble apologies for that. I will setup new email addresses as soon as possible.

Third, I just bough some new and more accurate (and more expensive) professional 3D meshes for the F-35 - as I felt that the F-35A was not on par with the new T-45C and F-14D. Therefore:

- A new, updated and more detailed F-35 model is in the works. The new model will be basically just a graphical update, and will be targeted at high-end computers. It will be payware, as the new 3d data was quite expensive for my budget, although it will be in the same price range as the previous F-35. The new outer model WILL NOT be compatible with existing repaints.

- I am considering to cease the sales of the current F-35 project. I do not consider this on par with the quality level I expect from the other projects. Unfortunately, agreement with some contributors of the project forbid the release as freeware.

- I am also considering to release the new model as a free upgrade to the existing one, or at a discounted price for existing customers - but I am not sure I can afford that.

- The new F-35 project will be "officially" announced soon, together with screenshots. It will still be an F-35A, anyway. I can tell you it looks really good, IHMO.

Anyway, no final decision was made so far - so I'd like to hear your opinion. The only thing I have decided is that I will make the new F-35 model, because it looks feasible (although requires a high end computer) - and what I have on the screen looks really good...and because I could not resist and already purchased the model from Turbosquid...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flight testing and changes to the flight model

Three hours of (mostly) T-45 flight testing today, in order to nail some of the changes to the flight model I had in mind. Although I think the previous flight model did its job nicely, after some thoughts, work and time spent reading the flight manual, I've modified the T-45 file so that:

- The engine response is slightly quicker. In the previous version I wanted to give the user the "sensation" of a trainer and the fact the T-45C is not an F-16. But, the engine response was probably a little too slow, so some users have complained about excessive difficulties in formation flying.

- Drag vs Mach is now slightly lower below 0.80 Mach, resulting in a faster acceleration and more correct climb speed. Also, top speed is close to the nominal Mach 0.85 in most conditions.

- Extending the speed brakes will have a "nose up" effect. This was perceived as "not realistic" and criticized by many users, and I deleted that effect in the previous versions. But then, the flight manual is very clear on this so the effect is back to stay.

- Extending the flap has a "nose up" effect, too, while extending the gear has now a slight "nose down" effect. Again, this is to attempt to replicate what is reported on the flight manual.

- There is now a slight "nose down" tendency above Mach 0.8, again, as per the manual.

Not many changes, then - but as I said I was quite happy with the previous FM. The new one is slightly harder as the pilot will have to compensate for the configuration changes, but I think it is still an easy plane to fly and land - and should do its job in helping simmers to learn how to land on a carrier.

...and yes, as you may have noticed, not all the pictures above are about the Goshawk...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Almost ready for a Beta Build

Some more pics of the new Goshawk. The front cockpit is now functional - more or less at the same level of functionality of my previous Goshawk, but it is definitely more accurate. The external model is done - just a couple of bug-fixes and it is ready. Everything looks good for a test release at the end of this month. It may well be a "public beta" that is I am considering to make a public release of the test version - as it is unclear to me if and when I will have more time to work on this project.

Aside, I also did some work on the new Tomcat - that is the one I'm making starting from professional 3d data I've bought "investing" some of the revenues from the F-35 project. It looks REALLY good IMHO - I will show you some pictures as soon as some of the missing textures are ready. It will be an F-14D Super Tomcat, by the way.