Thursday, July 5, 2018

F-35 Lightning II version 3.50 for Prepar3D v2.5, V3.x and v4.x

As some of you are aware of, I have been working on a further update to the payware F-35 Lightning II project. Unfortunately the source files for this project have been lost two years ago due to a malware attack (and because I was stupid enough to have left the backup drive connected to the PC). As result, it took quite a while to make some significant progress with this project: to implement some of the functionalities I had to rebuild the source models for the virtual cockpits and it was not an easy task.

As result, version 3.50 is different enough from its predecessors to require some further testing. A quick Beta test is planned and test version have been sent to selected testers.

Here is a (non comprehensive) list of the changes so far:

- New, more realistic flight models by Roy Holmes. These should match all the data publicly known so far, and provide a more realistic behavior.
- Implemented load-dependent drag for more realistic performance
- Implemented Ambient Occlusion mapping to all the external models
- Added South Korean, Japanese and Turkish repaints to F-35A
- Added Italian Navy and miscellaneous USMC repaints to F-35B
- Added VFA-125 and VX-9 repaints to F-35C
- Rebuilt and improved 3D vitual cockpit geometry
- Improved textures of virtual cockpit
- Added specular mapping to virtual cockpit
- Improved brightness and readability of Head Mounted Display
- Added "roll" degree of freedom to Head Mounted Display
- Brightess of MFD can be controlled manually
- Implemented digital indicator for remaining parking brake applications
- Backup Tacan now works
- Improved night lighting of virtual cockpit
- Implemented functionality of Emergency Jettison Knob
- Solved bug preventing digital imagery to appear on subportals in some instances
- Implemented Team Selection (Tacpack) through Mode 4 in CNI page
- Implemented Tacan input in CNI page
- Redone Generator/Started knob (now it should work as IRL).
- New full installers for P3Dv2 and v3, and P3v4 (full install). An installer for FSX is now provided, too.

Other changes planned but not implemented yet:

- Addition of MAP mode to TSD screens (actually it was left out as it is quite a frame rate killer on older systems…)
- Possibility to manually select, edit, delete and add waypoints through the DTM page
- Possibility to enter PP target coordinates in the DTM page
- Addition of WHOT option to TFLIR
- Addition of alternate radar presentation to SRCH page

Instruction to testers

This is not a full Beta test - the F-35 is a consolidated product, and there are no plans to massively upgrade it at least in the short term. The key points of this updates are the new flight model and the new VC models. As for the flight model, Roy Holmes has provided (as usual) an extremely refined flight model with a very realistic behavior… still it is possible that there are issues we could not detect. As for the VC, I had to rebuild the geometry source there may be bugs. Here is a list of things I'd like you to check

- Check installers functionality: separate installers are provided for P3dv4, P3dv2.5 and v3 and FSX.
- Check flight models
- Check Virtual Cockpit geometry/functionality and animations
- Check the new liveries for (big) inaccuracies (e.g. reversed letters or macroscopic things like these)

Again, this is just a quick check to verify that there are no major issues. Please submit feedback either by email or by adding a comment to this post (preferred).

BUGS FOUND SO FAR (and improvements):
Updated 18/07/2018 - 01:00 CET

External Model
EXT001 - "NO STEP" markings reversed on the slats: review all liveries and all models and check. Note:.F-35B and C are OK. This is an issue with the F-35A model, as the slat is mirrored. Possible solutions: get rid of the "NO STEP" marking on the F-35A slats, or replace it with generic graphics. Otherwise leave situation as is. Mitigated by replacing "NO STEP" with generic graphic sign.
EXT002 - VX-9 livery VX-9 marking reversed on right side. Fixed.
EXT03 - "NO STEP" markings reversed on tailerons. Incorrect texturing on F-35A and B. -C model seems OK. Fixed for all A and C liveries.

Flight Model
FM001 - F-35A cannot not deploy the speed brake -> Fixed: improper entry in the aicraft.cfg
FM002 - Gear impact thresholds were incorrect - particularly on the F-35C. Fixed on all models.
FM003 - F-35A had much higher landing speeds than intended. Investigation in progress. It seems that an incorrect aicraft.cfg was packed in the Beta files for a mistake. Fixed. Added missing entry in the F-35A configuration file.
FM004 - Tailhook on F-35C cannot deploy completely when on the ground. Investigation in progress.
FM005 - Fuel burn rate is slightly off the mark. Reported range about 1400 NM versus the supposed 1200 NM range of the F-35A.
FM006 - Contact point instability (drift and rotation over time): This is a contact point instability due to FSX/P3D engine. Was already present in the previous iterations. It is possible to reduce it by changing the gear parameters, but previous attempts led to unsatisfactory gear dynamics.
FM007 - Engine trust at idle is high (will cause the a/c to model even at idle) - Note, general engine performance is otherwise good, so any change should be done carefully.

Virtual Cockpit Model
VC001 - Spotted a "rogue" 3D bolt in the 3D model (all versions) nearby the left pedal - Fixed, removed from all models. 
VC002 - Minor shadowing/smoothing issue with HOOK/STOVL button (all models) - Fixed, redone button smoothing on all models.
VC003 - Suggestion to implement separate guard animation for EMERG GEAR. - Fixed, EMERG GEAR guard animation is now separate, and so is the Mouse Area click (two clicks required to animate the EMERG GEAR switch).

AV001 - New functionality: implemented selectable WHOT/BLOT modes for TFLIR Imagery
AV002 - BFI airspeed ladder was limited to 350kts. Increased to 600 kts.
AV003 - Different airspeed data sources for MFD/HMD/BFI - Fixed. All gauges will now point to a local variable. Data source will be selectable from the pilot in the DTM page.
AV004 - ENG Page: EGT needle rotation is out of scale. - Fixed. Proper rotation and scale. 
AV005 - ENG Page: Throttle setting has no value. - Fixed. Added throttle setting reading.
AV006 - ENG Page:  N1 RPM needle rotation out of scale - Fixed. Redone ENG page code.
AV007 - Top bar, engine status report: verify rotation/settings.
AV008 - ENG Page: Oil needle always in red area, suggestion to add it.  Fixed. Redone ENG page code.
AV009 - Missing audible gear warning.
AV010 - TSD: suggestion to add waypoint controls to this page
AV011 - TSD suggestion to add map/terrain layer here (note: due to GPS mapping limitations, adding the mao mode is possible only in 3-views portal)
AV012 - A/P suggestion to add possibility to engagé A/T with current airspeed (note: FSX autothrottle will point to IAS, not EAS - possible inconsistency if air data source is not IAS)
AV013 - A/P suggestion to add possibility to set negative V/S for descent.
AV014 - TACAN ON/OFF - double click needed to switch it on/off? Fixed bug in switch animation, however the switch itself is not meant operational as in this implementation the TACAN is basically a duplicate of the NAV1 radio. Also, rejected bug report stating that X/Y button does not work. X/Y button does work as intended, however the code will not turn to Y if the Y frequencies are not supported by FSX/P3D.
AV015 - CNI PAGE - evaluate possibility to introduce volume controls.
AV016 - Autopilot: tends to overshoot waypoints
AV017 - Suggestion to add the possibility to read flight plans from file (note: it is possible to do it in XML by storing data in an XML file)
AV018 - Suggestion to add the possibility to upload user-selected graphic images to DTM (ofr target identification etc. real F-35 can Exchange videos/images/etc. through datalink)
AV019 - Planned addition of WPT controls (including addition and deletion) to DTM page. Done: it is now possible to manage waypoints in the DTM page.
AV020 - Planned addition of PP target coordinates inut in DTM page. Done: it is now possible to enter PP target coordinates in the DTM page.
AV021 - Suggestion to add the CAGE/UNCAGE option to HUD (for example in HUD page). Added CAGE switch to HUD page.
AV022 - ENG Page: Thrust scale reading was offset, also did not report the actual percentage of thrust, but rather N1. Fixed
AV023 - HMD Visibility does not work as intended in FSX (duplicate graphics). Fixed. Default HMD code for P3Dv4 does not work with FSX. A custom HMD.xml had to be created.
AV024 - New functionality for FSX: updated TFLIR interface (still no imagery available, but at least you can type-in laser codes and check if the laser is functional)
AV025 - New functionality for FSX: updated CNI page to the same functionality as P3D.
AV026 - New functionality: added possibility to switch between EAS and KIAS as air data sources in the DTM page.
AV027 - Jettison knob and button do not work. Fixed: variable mismatch between avionics code and virtual cockpit model, now works as intended.
AV028 - Battery and lights switches missing custom sound - Only non standard FSX assigments have custom sounds...working to see if it is possible to add them quickly. Fixed: reworked Modeldef.xml to add them.

AV029 - Miscellaneous controls missing custom sound - Only non standard FSX assigments have custom sounds...working to see if it is possible to add them quickly.
AV030 - Wrong scale of superimposed symbology (e.g. targets and vehicles) in all TSD screens and modes above 40Nm range. Fixed: mismatch between scale and pixel per mile factor in TSD.XML.
AV031 - Evaluate altenate association of "X-Ray" visionAV032 - Check autopilot functionality, tester reported it is not possible to set altitude below 10000ft in FSX. Fixed: issue in visualization of A/P otions (FSX ONLY) - redone FSX AP interface (now same as P3D).
AV033 - Evaluate "cold and dark" option.
AV034 - HMD in free-look mode reports targeting information even when the landing gear is down (contrary to virtual HUD)
AV035 - Fixed minor bug in A/P window showing incorrectly entries when typing in altitude.
AV036 - Newly introduced input option require the user to actively press the ENT key, contrary to the older functions - harmonization would be better.

MISC001 - New functionality: you can now partially add/remove fuel in the configurator, as well as repair the Aircraft.
MISC002 - Preview images need to be updated (needed only for FSX) - added new thumbnails for all variants
MISC003 - Incorrect Aircraft.cfg entry for USAF 11-5050 - Fixed
MISC004 - Add better stall warning sound - Fixed
MISC005 - Configurator graphic is incorrect (missing one slash) - Fixed
MISC006 - Maximum load configuration renamed "Beast mode"
MISC007 - Changed default load to LGB to all models.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

USS America LHA6 - Public Beta

I have been notified that the names in the sim.cfg may cause issues in AICarriers - the objects have been renamed and should work now, but please let me know

Happy 4th of July to all my American supporters!
As some of you are aware of, lately I have been working on a USS America model - this was developed mostly because I wanted a proper "home" for my F-35B.
This was initially intended to be part of the next update to the F-35 project… but I thought it was better to release it for free for a number of reasons: for one, the development resources spent for this ship have been quite limited….but the main one is that I think that a ship like this was much needed, not only for the F-35, but also for the SH-60, CH-53 and Osprey pilots.
Given that this is my first ship, most likely there will be a number of inaccuracies and mistakes: suggestions and bug reports are welcome, as usual - if at all possible submit your feedback as comments of this post.

NOTE: This is SimObject boat! You need Tacpack, AICarriers, SimDirector or similar applications to spawn it in game.

- Detailed model of USS America LHA-6, including aicrafts and deck crew.
- Three configurations:
 - Empty deck
 - F-35 Operations
 - MV-22 Operations
- Landable deck
- Night Lighting (preliminary)

You can dowload the BETA version by clicking HERE.