Friday, February 22, 2019

Eurofighter Typhoon Update to version 1.23 (with PBR support)


As (to some extent) expected with a major update, Eurofighter v1.22 release included a couple of bugs and highlighted some existing defects. The most annoying bug is the fact that the updated FCS code did not work as intended and caused the plane to pitch up requiring constant pilot action - I consider this a severe defect and given that probably I will not have much time in the next few days, I have decided to address it immediately with a further update.

Aside, some users reported a loss in frame rate after the PBR update: this is generally to be expected for PBR models, as the compiled model file (.mdl) is larger and uses more textures video memory. On my system, which has a GTX-1080, there is not a big difference - but from time to time you may have a slight delay in loading the PBR textures while switching between external and virtual cockpit views.

I have also heard "rumors" (meaning that I had no direct report of that) of users experiencing a drop in frame rates also with non-PBR models and also in previous updates. Frankly, since the modifications to the code were minimal, it is difficult for me to say if the frame rate drop is due to the Eurofighter update or by other reasons. The only thing I have noticed is that there was a missing texture (the fresnel ramp texture used in the canopy) - missing textures may reduce the performance a little...but this should be barely noticeable. Anyway I have included the missing texture in this update.


Last, please remember that if you prefer to use the non-PBR model, the files have been left there (they are not overwritten) - so you can activate/deactivate the PBR models in the model.cfg. This update contains backup version of the model.cfg for both PBR and non-PBR for your convenience. Just delete the model.cfg in the model folders of the Eurofighter_2000 and Eurofighter_2000T, and rename the backup files by deleting  the ".backupPBR" or ".backupNonPBR" suffixes.
Note that editing the model.cfg gives you also access to the "ubuntu" variants. These are model variants that replaces the FCS driven animations with "standard" ones. These animations are less accurate and realistic, but are compatible with multiplayer. "Ubuntu" models are provided in both PBR and non-PBR versions - please note that you have to use them with the proper cockpit model (PBR external model must go along with PBR VC and vice versa) - otherwise textures may be shown with a wrong color.


Here is the full list of changes:

VERSION 1.23
CHANGES WITH RESPECT TO PREVIOUS VERSION

- Replaced autotrim FCS code to solve the "pitch up" tendency of v1.22

- Replaced navigation lights effects for better compatibility with PBR models

- Fixed glitch that caused left and right wheel rotation animations were swapped

- Fixed glitch that caused barometric reading to disappear from HUD in certain instances

- Added model.cfg backup files for easier deactivation of PBR models

- Added missing Fresnel Ramp texture for canopy


32 bit update (for FSX-SE/Gold/Acceleration, P3Dv1, P3Dv2, P3Dv3) can be dowloaded
HERE or from the side bar

64 bit update with PBR support (only for P3Dv4.4) can be dowloaded HERE or from the side bar

Users of P3Dv4.0 to 4.3 can install the 64 bit upgrade but are should replace the model.cfg with non-PBR versions as described above.

NOTE: UNLESS MAJOR ISSUES ARE FOUND, THIS IS LIKELY TO BE THE LAST UPDATE WHICH SUPPORTS FSX

Monday, February 18, 2019

Eurofighter Update to version 1.22 with PBR (Preliminary)


NOTE: THE INITIAL RELEASE OF EUROFIGHTER 1.22 PBR HAD A SMALL GLITCH SO THAT "REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT" RIBBONS AND COVERS HAD A WRONG TEXTURE - FILES HAVE BEEN REPLACED WITH CORRECTED ONES, ALSO PBR "UBUNTU" MODELS HAVE BEEN ADDED FOR MULTIPLAYER.

A couple of sleepless nights playing with Physically Based Rendering (PBR) on the Eurofighter Typhoon model and here we are with another update. For those who do not know PBR, it is a different rendering technique which is supposed to simulate the appearance of 3D models on the basis actual physical proprieties of the material they represent (such as "metalness", roughness etc.). This is a relatively new rendering technogy which, in some circumstances, can provide more realistic results with respect to the traditional techniques.
Recent videogames like Red Dead Redeption are a great example of this. In flight simulation, PBR was introduced by X-Plane, DCS and (almost unnoticed) by Flight Simulator World.
Note that PBR is a generic name for the approach, and each engine has its own implementation with different results and possibilities.
PBR has recently been introduced in Prepar3D V4 starting from version 4.4 - the implementation is quite standard: materials require an "albedo" texture (its base color), a "metallic" texture (which specifies the metalness and, in P3D, also the Ambient Occlusion and the smoothness of the surface), a "normal" texture (basically the old normal/bump map) and an "emissive" texture.
In addition, P3D now allows the developers to control the visual proprieties of a material with a LUA script during the simulation - which is pretty great as it allows a number of cool tricks.
NOTE THAT PBR MODEL WILL ONLY WORK WITH P3Dv4.4 AND ABOVE.

Here are "preliminary" models of the Eurofighter with PBR. While compiling these models I also fixed a couple of minor bugs. As result the update is provided in 2 versions: a 32-bit version for FSX users and users of P3Dv1, v2 and v3 and a 64-bit version which will only work with P3Dv4.4 (you must upgrade your P3Dv4.X to v4.4 or above to use it).

Here is the list of changes:

VERSION 1.22 WITH PBR UPDATE (BETA)
CHANGES WITH RESPECT TO PREVIOUS VERSION

- Added new PBR models, metallic, bump textures and scripts (Prepar3D v4.4 ONLY!)
- Fixed minor issues and typos in the FCS Autotrim code
- Fixed minor bug in display condition of the ENG FLAME warning in RMHHD
- Fixed miscellaneuos typos in the HUD code
- Fixed miscellaneous typos in the HMD code
- Fixed missing plane attitude graphics in the HMD
- Fixed missing emergency jettison icon
- Fixed missing X FER caption
- Fixed miscellaneous typos in the Tactical Systems code
- Added missing wheels and ground roll sounds
- Fixed glitch in gun funnel mode in 2D HUD view
- Changed HMD code so that A-A symbols will not park at the edge of the FOV
- Fixed minor glitch in panel backlighting
- Fixed multiple minor geometry glitches in virtual cockpit

The full update with PBR models for P3Dv4.4 can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

The partial update without PBR for FSX/P3Dv2/P3Dv3 can be dowloaded by clicking HERE.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Eurofighter Update to version 1.21


I had no plans for any short-term update to the Eurofighter Typhoon…. but it turned out that 1.20 had a bug so that you could not select Storm Shadows anymore and I cannot stand and update that brings reduced functionality, so I took the chance and made further improvements to the new cockpit geometry, added IR mode to the PIRATE, added the "ubuntu" model for the twn seater and improved the animations in both the "ubuntu" models. Here is the list of changes:

VERSION 1.21
CHANGES WITH RESPECT TO PREVIOUS VERSION
- Fixed bug in SSK code preventing selection of StormShadow missile
- Fixed several minor geometry issues with the new VC model
- Added "UBUNTU"* model option also for the twin seater
- Improved animation of "UBUNTU"* models
- Added possibility to switch between IR/CCD and WHOT/BLOT modes also to the PIRATE
- Harmonized notation of TFLIR/IR Imagery as follows: IR denotes P3D "pseudo-IR" rendering, CCD denotes normal rendering

* - The default visual model of the Eurofigher uses several custom animations which are not compatible with multiplayer: specifically the control surface will show in "rest" position to any player not using an Eurofighter. In order to avoid this, users may prefer to activate the "ubuntu" model option. To do this, go into the MODEL folder (of the Eurofighter_2000 and Eurofighter_2000T folders in the SimObjects/Airplanes folder), open the model.cfg with Notepad and then comment out the "normal" model line and uncomment the line indicated in the file itself. This will replace the external model with one with less-accurate-but-multiplayer-compatible animations.
The activation of such models must be done independently for the single and twin seater models.


The update can be dowloaded by clicking HERE or from the side bar.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Eurofighter Typhoon Update to Version 1.20


Here is a quite extensive patch for the Eurofighter Typhoon - this introduces a number of much requested changes including possibility to shoot Mavericks (as placeholder from the Brimstones), having 2D MFD panels and fine-control of the TOO target designation via FLIR.
Also, the files have been restructured so that now the 2-seaters have their own folder and have a different empty weight and fuel capacity.

Note that the patch will work with ANY version starting  from 1.10.

*** IMPORTANT - THE PATCH IS CONFIGURED BY DEFAULT FOR P3D V4! IF YOU ARE USING FSX, P3Dv1, v2 or v3 YOU SHOULD DELETE THE panel.cfg PROVIDED AND RENAME THE panel_32bit.CFG TO panel.cfg ***

CHANGES WITH RESPECT TO VERSION 1.20
- Remodeled the canopy frame to match perfectly with the outer model: this was not necessary (and does not even mean that it is more accurate) for P3D (or DCS - both sims allow VC models separate from the aircraft model), but it was required for X-Plane and AFS2.
- Changed HUD glass texture to have a dark puple tint
- Changed SSK code so that it is now possible to deselect a mode without selecting another one
- Changed HMDSS code to show all A/A tracks intead of the L&S track only
- Changed HMDSS code to show proper A/S reticle when in A/S mode
- Added keyboard shortcuts for fine control of the TFLIR A/S target
  SHIFT+Arrow keys allow fine control of the TFLIR A/S target location.
  A valid A/S TOO must be designated first.
- Added keyboard controls for radar range and modes as follows:
  If in NAV PoF -> UP/DOWN control PA range, LEFT/RIGHT select previous/next WP
  If in A/A PoF -> UP/DOWN control A/A radar range, LEFT/RIGHT -> undesignate/designate command
  If in A/S PoF -> UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT fine control of A/S target 
- Implemented Mavericks as "placehoder" for Brimstones (this was actually quite a lot of work as Tacpack does not support multiple ordnance on the same pylon...but since it was a much requested feature I decided to go for it) - NOTE The AGM-65E is laser guided: you will need a laser spot to fire the missile correctly. Also, there are issues if you mix StormShadows and Brimstones in the same loadout (I do not think it is a problem)
- Miscellaneous minor bug fixes
- Added an optional "ubuntu" model for the single seater which relies solely on standard animations (this is meant for use in multiplayer sessions with mixed aicrafts and prevents people flying with other aicrafts from seeing incorrect animations in the Eurofighter model) -> to activate this you have to manually edit the MODEL.CFG file in the Eurofighter_2000\model folder as follows: change the normal=EF2000 to normal=EF200ubuntu. Note that this must be
done ONLY by players which are NOT flying the Eurofighter as this disables the custom FCS animations.
- Added undockable 2D MFD displays
- Added separate folder and configuration file for twin seaters (to enable correct weight and fuel quantity)
- Replaced Stall Warning sound with one more appropriate for a fighter jet
NOTE: BY DEFAULT THE UPDATE IS CONFIGURED FOR A 64 BIT SIMULATOR (Prepar3d V4.0 and following).
IF YOU WISH TO USE THE UPDATE ON A 32 BIT SIMULATOR (FSX, P3Dv1-2-3) YOU MUST NAVIGATE TO
THE PANEL FOLDER IN THE Eurofighter_2000 FOLDER, DELETE THE PANEL.CFG AND RENAME THE PANEL_32bit.CFG
TO PANEL.CFG.


As usual, you can download the update from the side bar or by clicking HERE.

S-211 for Aerofly FS2 Update to v1.02


*** NOTE  - JUST AFTER THE RELEASE I HAVE NOTICED A COUPLE OF ANNOYING BUGS...SO I MADE A FURTHER UPDATE TO VERSION 1.02. FILES HAVE BEEN UPDATED BUT YOU MAY NEED TO DOWNLOAD THEM AGAIN - SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE ***

In spite of its shortcomings (weather, water textures, missing traffic and ATC are on the top of my list) AeroFly FS 2 is still my go-to simulator for VR sightseeing flights - I have also purchased all of the Orbx airports for it and I am very happy - they look great with an incredible frame rate.

So, here is a small update to the freeware S-211 for AFS2 - which basically adds the liveries I have recently added to the payware FSX/P3D version:

Version 1.02
03/01/2019
- Fixed bug so that the Initial Prototype Livery was missing and the Haitian Air Corps was duplicated
- Deleted Copilot view (which was not meant to be there)
- Rewritten electrical system code
- Corrected thrust value for JT15D-5C
- Corrected fuel quantity weight
- Fixed bug preventing the user from switching off the navigation lights
- Fixed bug preventing the user from switching off the landing lights
- Reworked navigation lights effects

Version 1.01
02/01/2019
- Fixed missing geometry for fuel shut-off valve (control not operational yet)
- Added Haitian Air Corps Livery
- Added NX521S2 Livery


As usual it can be downloaded from the sidebar or by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

F-35 UPDATE TO VERSION 3.55 (P3D ONLY)

A small belated Christmas present for the F-35 users: here is version 3.55 which is most probably the last update for the "Version 3" of the F-35.
Most likely the next iteration will be a new product, with models rebuilt for PBR support and compatible only with Prepar3D version 4.4 and above (and will require a new purchase). I am sorry to ask for a new admission ticket, but the work needed is too much. I'll try to implement discounts for existing users if the distributors will allow that.
This 3.55 update applies to P3D (version 2.0 to 4.4): latest version for FSX will be 3.53. The zip file includes both the 3.55 version for P3D and the 3.53 FSX, and the simplified MFD and the low res textures as well. Note that using the simplified MFD will disrupt some of the features of this update.
Here is the features list:

Version 3.55 - 26/12/2018
THIS UPDATE APPLIES ONLY TO P3D - LATEST FSX VERSION IS 3.53
  • Changed default load to "NO WEAPONS" for all aircrafts
  • AoA indication limit on HMD is now 50° (was 30°)
  • Slight change to toe-brake effectiveness
  • Added special color livery for Koninklijke Luchtmacht
  • Added special color livery for Aeronautica Militare
  • Changed implementation of TFLIR imagery which hopefully solves/mitigates aircraft visibility for some users
  • All air-to-air radar tracks are now shown on the Head Mounted Display:
    - symbol size is scaled depending on the target distance (small over 20Nm, medium from 20Nm to 10Nm, big below 10Nm)- symbols will park on the edge of the visibility area both in the vHUD and Free Look mode
  • Implemented fine control of the air to surface target via Az/El TFLIR control:- fine control works only of TOO targets when the aircraft is in A/S mode- a TOO target must be assigned first (via TSD, ASR or HMD) to enable fine control- fine control allows the adjustment of TFLIR Az/El- fine control can be operated via the TFLIR screen (by clicking on the crosshair) or via keyboard shortcut
  • Implemented following key shortcuts:
  • ARROW KEYS:- In NAV mode: UP/DOWN control TSD1 zoom level; LEFT/RIGHT select previous/next waypoint- In A/A mode: UP/DOWN control Air-to-Air radar range; LEFT/RIGHT command UNDESIGNATE/DESIGNATE target- In A/S mode, with valid TOO: UP/DOWN control TFLIR El; LEFT/RIGHT control TFLIR Az; both will update target locationSHIFT+ARROW KEYS -> TFLIR CONTROL- UP/DOWN control TFLIR El; - LEFT/RIGHT control TFLIR Az; both will update target location
  • CONTROL+ARROW KEYS -> ASR CURSOR CONTROL
    - UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT control the position of the cursor in the ASR screen
  • CONTROL+SHIFT+ARROW KEYS -> SENSOR CONTROL
    - UP -> DESIGNATE ASR CURSOR POSITION AS A/S TARGET
    - DOWN -> CHANGE ASR RADAR ZOOM
    - LEFT -> CHANGE TFLIR MODE
    - RIGHT -> CHANGE DAS MODE
As usual, you can download the update from the side bar or by clicking HERE.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Siai Marchetti S-21 / Aermacchi M-345 update


*** EDIT: I just realized that the cockpit model that went into the update did not feature the separate N1 and N2 needles as intended. Also the NX521 repaint had some minor glitches. I have updated the files to version 1.11 ***

Here is a small update to the S-211/M-345 package, mostly meant to address the incorrect behavior of the turn coordinator and the ball in the ADI. I also took the chance to fix a couple of minor things and add a couple of repaints. Here is the list of changes:

Version 1.11 - 14/12/2018
- Added separate N1 and N2 needles
- Fixed minor glitches in NX521S repaint

Version 1.10 - 01/12/2018
- Improved resolution of volt-ampere meter gauge
- Replaced engine exhaust texture with a more accurate one
- Fixed ADI turn rate indicator behavior
- Fixed ADI ball behavior
- Added Haitian Air Corps repaint
- Added NX521S repaint
- Added smoke effect (see notes)
- Fixed small glitch so that CRS could not be entered in digital cockpit versions
- Fixed small glitch in the JPATS USAF repaint

As usual the update can be downloaded from my Google Drive either from the side bar or by clicking HERE.