Sunday, November 29, 2015

F-35 Lightning II version 3 for Prepar3D - Payware Product Page

Following the greatly successful release of the F-35 package for Flight Simulator X, here is a new version designed specifically for Prepar3D v2.5 (and above) with support of Vertical Reality Simulations Tacpack.
As the F-35 program progresses, a lot of infomation has been made available on the real aicraft - so it was possible to design a better, more realistic simulation of the F-35...and this package is an attempt to significantly improve the existing freeware version, bringing it to the next level of accuracy. Unfortunately, the development costs have been really high - therefore this package cannot be released for free. It will shortly be available for purchase on all major Flight Simulation portals (SimMarket, FSPilotShop and FlightsimStore).

- Improved pilot inteface and avionics, and based on the most recent videos of actual simulators used for pilot training
- New, high detail visual models based on professionally made meshes
- High detail texture sets, based on real aicrafts, for U.S.A.F., U.S.Marine Corps, U.S.Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Italian Air Force and Norwegian Air Force
- Improved modeling and texturing of the Virtual Cockpit
- Improved MFD functionality, including Air To Surface radar (ASR), Distributed Aperture System (DAS) imagery, Targeting and Forward Looking Infra-Red (TFLIR Imaging)
- Improved HMD graphics and functionalities
- Improved flight model based on latest pireps and pilot interviews

- Custom F-35 pilot figures for Avatar Mode are included as bonus feature for Prepar3Dv3

Minimum hardware requirements: 
This is not a "lightweight" project - the complexity of the avionics and high detail of the visual models require a relatively powerful machine. We advise to use the package on a machine that meets of exceeds the following requirements:

- CPU: 4 cores, 3.0GHz or better
- GPU: Nvidia 660 or better, with 2Gb dedicated video memory
- RAM: 6Gb minimum
- Hard Disk space: 1Gb required
- Simulation platform: Lockheed Martin Prepar3D v2.5 or above. VRS Tacpack required for specific functions (see FAQs section)

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q - Is this package compatible with FSX?
A - This package has been designed from the beginning for Lockheed Martin Prepar3D V2.5 + Tackpack, and leverages some peculiar features of  this platform, specifically for the avionics. It is therefore not compatible with FSX - installing it in FSX will result in a non-functional MFD, and potential error messages. However, a patch is provided that installs an alternate, simplified MFD which is compatible with FSX:Acceleration, Gold and Steam Editions.
With this patch the following functions will not work: TFLIR, DAS, ASR. Also, you cannot maximize portals to half-screen and the TSD display is the "old" one (less realistic and based on the FS9GPS). Note that due to the high detail of the 3D model, the fps performance will not be very high. 

Q- Wait...but isn't your F-35 a freeware project? 
A- Well... it was. Meaning, the FSX F-35 package is freeware (up to version 2.41). The version depicted in this page is version 3 - which is payware. The reason for this is that the development costs have been quite high - mostly to pay for the enhanced meshes for the new visual model. I am sorry but this project cannot be distributed for free.

Q- is this different from the freeware version?
In the past two years, a lot of new information and data about the F-35 has been made available to the public, and this package leverages this as much as we could. For one, the 3D models are much better, with more realistic and detailed textures. Also, the flight model has been improved. And the MFD and pilot interface have been vastly reworked: a lot of work has been put in making the look and feel of the MFD more realistic and implementing features like DAS and TFLIR.

Q- Is Tackpack required?
A- The package has been designed from the beginning to leverage some specific Tacpack features to provide a more realistic depiction of the F-35 avionics. If Tacpack is not installed, following functions will not work: weapons configurator, ordnance release, TWD, chaffs, flares, DAS imagery, TFLIR imagery, HMDS off-boresight symbology. Basically you can fly...and nothing more.

Q- What about P3D version 3? How is this different from the stock F-35 that comes with P3Dv3?
A- The "stock" P3Dv3 version is a simplified version I provided to Lockheed Martin (for free) as I was not happy with the previous rendition, but it is actually a much simplified version of this package.
The package will work fine in P3Dv3, but at the moment I am writing this Tacpack is not (yet) Tacpack dependent function will not work. Once Tacpack becomes available, those functions will activate when Tacpack is installed (no need to reinstall the F-35).

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Military Avatars Package for Prepar3D v3.0

Starting from version 3.0, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D has introduced the "avatar mode": that is the user can detach himself/herself from the vehicle and explore the virtual world in first or third person perspective.
By default Prepar3D v3.0 only features a generic, civilian male figure - this package expands the selection of avatar figures to include a variety of military figures. Figures included in the package are:
- Military pilot in full flight gear with HGU-33 helmet
- Military pilot in full flight gear with HGU-55 helmet.
- Military pilot in full flight gear without helmet (pictured above)
- Generic serviceman figure in working uniform, in a variety of camouflages
- Crew chief figure (same as serviceman figure but with specific head gear)
- Carrier flight deck figure
The figures feature hand-made animation for:
- walking
- crouch down / stand up
- running
- swimming
The animations are pretty basic, and definitely not on par with the most advanced videogames, therefore you may want to check them in the video below before purchasing.
The package will be available at all major flight simulation digital marketplaces - price may vary a litttle depeding on distribution fees and national VAT taxation.
Q: Does these avatars work in FSX or Prepar3D v2.0? 
A: NO. This package will work exlusively with Prepar3D v3.0.
Q: Can I use these avatars with any vehicle? Or they are bound to IndiaFoxtEcho aicrafts?
A: The avatars are SimObjects, and can be used with any vehicle.
Q: Is a paintkit available?
A: Yes. A paintkit is provided for the serviceman figures, along with an optional figure with a beret instead of a cap to allow repainters to depict specific units. 
Q: Well... models look cool... but what is the purpose other than taking cool pictures? 
A: This is a good question. The intent, for one, is to allow multiple vehicle simulation scenarios for training purposes...but, for one, you can explore the virtual world in a new perspective... some sceneries like Orbx airports or some freeware and payware carriers are really worth exploring. Also, you can use the avatars as observers in multiplayer sessions.
Q: Hand gestures would be awesome in multiplayer... have you tought about that?
A: Of course... but we have not found a way to drive completely custom actions yet... this is one of the very first avatars add-ons... and avatar features and possibilities are not well documented in the SDK, so it may well be that in future this becomes a possibility.
Q: Boy...those animatons are awful!
A: I know. The original plan was to have motion capture animations, but we had to change them to hand-made basic animations for technical difficulties... maybe in future we can solve the issue and provide an update, but for the moment you'll have to leave with the current animations (but do not say we have not warned you!)
Q: This is payware?!? Aren't you Dino, the cool freeware guy?
A: Yes...payware. The whole package relies on commercial 3D data, and investing money was the only way to create it... so I have to charge for this. Sorry.
Q: I am not paying for this sh*t!
A: Ok! You can still enjoy our freeware offerings, and hopefully we'll have you on board as customer of the upcoming F-35 Lightning II version 3.00 package.