Tuesday, May 19, 2009

F-14D Beta 1




Beta 1 has been closed - situation frozen as shown below.

External model:

  1. Low frame rates. Sorry but I went for the maximum details. The Beta has already undergone a round of optimizations. I will do another round before release, but I do not think I can improve the performance significantly.If this bothers you too much, disable the aircraft self shadows. The F-35 will perform better. STATUS:OPEN; ACTION: FURTHER OPTIMIZATION IF POSSIBLE
  2. Wing sweep happens at much higher speed than the real aricraft. This was done intentionally in order to prevent animation clashes with spoilers/flaps. STATUS:CLOSED, NO ACTION (BETTER KEEP IT AS IS)
  3. Abrupt nozzle animation / afterburner. I tried to make it smooth (linking to the RPM) but coud not synchronize the nozzle with the a/b. STATUS:CLOSED, NO ACTION (BETTER ANIMATION WILL COMPROMISE A/B SYNC)
  4. Landing gear does not kneel before cat launch: afaik there is no way to make the gear "kneel" on pilot's command (i.e. in the real Tomcat the nose strut is compressed 14 inches - the pilot command the compression via the NOSE STRUT switch)... Therefore I made a compromise while setting the gear contact points. No corrective action planned. STATUS:CLOSED, NO ACTION (AFAIK IMPOSSIBLE)
  5. Tailhook does not touch the deck. STATUS:CLOSED (Solved on .mdl build 24)
  6. Nose probe animation glitch (seems to sink into the fuselage too much). I knew this. I had major problems in keeping the fuselage smooth while "cutting" the probe vane, so there is a "visual patch" instead of a proper 3D vane... this is causing the glitch which should be visible only at close inspection. I will not modify it. STATUS:CLOSED, NO ACTION (TOO DIFFICULT).
  7. Nose landing gear does not touch the ground. STATUS:CLOSED (Solved on MDL build 24)
  8. Burner special effect bleeds through the nozzle. This is not much visbile on my system. STATUS:CLOSED; (Mitigated by contolling the .fx diameter - still visible - depends on graphic card settings)
  9. Nose gear wheels/tires slightly too big. STATUS:CLOSED (Nose wheels and tires shrunk in build MDL 24)
  10. Minor nose gear animation glitch (tire peeking through the gear doors). STATUS:Closed (Nose gear animation sequence reworked in build 24)
  11. Minor spoiler gear animation glitch (actuators disappear into the fuselage). STATUS:CLOSED (Issue mitigated by reworking animation sequence in MDL Build 24, not completely solved but almost negligible. Complete solution would require a redesign of the spoilers which would be too time consuming)
  12. Minor canopy geometry glitch (does not match perfectly with the fuselage); STATUS:CLOSED (Canopy assembly geometry reworked on build MDL 24)
  13. Missing fuel dump effect. STATUS:CLOSED (Fuel dump added in model build 25, also FUEL DUMP switch now operative in cockpit build 17)

Interior model:

  1. Low frame rates. Will try to make another round of optimization if I'll have the time. STATUS:OPEN; ACTION:PERFORM OPTIMIZATION IF POSSIBLE
  2. AoA indicator replaced by VV indicator:
    Sorry but I've never managed to make a 3D Aoa indicator that works...so I've replaced it with a VVI. STATUS:CLOSED (Added AoA indicator thanks to XML code courtesy of Paolo Oriani)
  3. Radar altimeter replaced by a gmeter:
    Same as (1) - the 3D radar altimeter was not working. STATUS:CLOSED, NO ACTION (CANNOT MAKE IT WORK)
  4. Fuel quantity and engine panels showing weird values:
    I thought I've correctly reverse-engineered the parameters to do them in 3D but while I was making the Goshawk....but it was not true.
  5. Several switches/knobs not working or mapped incorrectly
    I'm not sure I will have the time to fix them all. Please tell me what are the most annoying malfunctions and I'll see what I can do. Keep in mind that some of the Tomcat functions cannot be properly replicated in FSX without external coding.STATUS:OPEN; ACTION:WAIT FOR TESTERS TO IDENTIFY MAJOR MALFUNCTIONS: Some MFD buttons not working for no apparent reason.
  7. Autothrottle not working...can't tell why. I've double checked the code and it should work....Not sure I can fix it. STATUS:OPEN; ACTION:INVESTINGATING XML, MDL,CFG
  8. MFDs are obiviously mutuated from the Hornet (BLASPHEMY!). I do not have the time and skill to make new, more accurate ones. STATUSColore testo:CLOSED,NO ACTION
  9. Difficult access to CRS/HDG knobs. They are currently positioned in the "right" place, but they are difficult to access with the mouse pointer. Can be moved upwards. STATUS:CLOSED (Knobs moved upward for better accessibility in cockpit build 18)
  10. Cannot start engines manually and in general cannot follow actual F-14D startup procedure ("cold and dark operation"). STATUS:OPEN, ACTION:ADD FUNCTIONALITY, WRITE FSX:A CHECKLIST
  11. Windshield frame too big. STATUS:CLOSED (Geometry modified in cockpit build 16)
  12. No VC Backlight - There is no backlight code in the Beta 1 build. STATUS:CLOSED (Backlight added in cockpit build 17 - green backlight+red diffuse light)

Additional functions/features in current build (18):

- HYD HAND PUMP (Mapped to Emergency Landing Gear Lever)

- FUEL DUMP SWITCH now opeartive

- MULTI STATUS INDICATOR shows mock weapon status

Flight model:

  1. Approach speed - It appears to be higher than the real one (reading from the NATOPS). A/c tends to sink below 135/140 kts. STATUS:CLOSED (Modified .air file to lower approach speed - as side effect the stall speed is considerably lower than the real plane...but carrier approaches seem much more accurate)
  2. Overpowered - While I've set the right engine values and a/c weight, I have the impression it is overpowered. STATUS:OPEN; ACTION:TBD After derating the engine and increasing the drag the plane seems still overpowered...
  3. Speed brake effect - I've already boosted its effect...but it still seems weak to me... STATUS: CLOSED (Modified .air file - speedbrake is much more effective now, not sure it makes sense to increase its effect further)
  4. Moving the control surface while on the deck causes the a/c to tilt... STATUS:CLOSED (No changes - I did some trials to fix this but I don't want to change the ground handling behaviour...it is not perfect but I think it is OK)
  5. Asymmetric thrust during takeoff (ashore). Does not seem to be a showstopper often on my system. Keep in mind that AFAIK, the F-14D does not take off with a/b. Not sure if it is a real issue or not. Flight parameters look ok (symmetric values for engine location). EDIT: THIS WAS A TRICKY ONE...IT WAS DUE TO AN ASYMMETRY OF THE AUX FUEL TANK LOCATIONS:so it was dependent on the fuel quantity, STATUS:CLOSED (Solved by removing the fuel tank CoG asymmetry in the .cfg file)
  6. Toe brakes effect weak. STATUS:CLOSED (Solved by boosting the toe brake effect in the .cfg file)
  7. Roll rate slightly high. STATUS:CLOSED (Solved by reducing the roll control surface effectiveness in the .cfg file)
  8. Gear retraction too fast. STATUS:CLOSED (Solved by setting the right retraction time 9.0 sec in the .cfg file)
  9. Add 1 notch flap position. STATUS: CLOSED (Solved by adding one flap position to the aircraft.cfg)


Todd said...

A few interior issues:

•HDG and CRS adjustment knob placement. CRS knob covered. There is empty space above current placement. Moving them up may allow easier access.

•Analog HSI is reverse sensing, off by 180 degrees

•ILS button on right MFD INOP, can activate ILS mode with button on center MFD when on HSI screen

blackbird said...

The nose gear doesn't touch the runway or deck.

SpazSinbad said...

Agree with second comment that nosewheel does not touch runway when aircraft at rest.
Agree that aircraft is over powered in approach mode. Testing at around 20-25% fuel capacity I cannot be certain of correct approach airspeed (using Optimum AoA) but the power needs to be a almost flight idle in otherwise dirty landing condition. Perhaps having more effective speedbrakes at landing airspeeds will help?
Otherwise it is a lot of fun to mess about in [and land at idle :-) ]
Thanks for all the hard work, I'm hoping the issues described will be easy enough to fix. Great fun to fly nevertheless.

Aaron said...

Very nicely designed!

The refueling probe is a bit messed up with the animation because it goes through the nose a bit (hopefully can be corrected, if not it is not that big of a deal)

i also agree with the other comment that the nose gear does not fully touch the ground and also the main gear goes through the ground on touchdown a little too much. I like the optional bombs it is a nice touch! I have yet to find noticable things in the cockpit!

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

Thanks you all for your feedback. I am taking notes. At present I do not have much time to gather all the issues and try to fix them but I will surely make good use of your inputs - hopefully during the next weekend.

Aaron said...

Another thing that I found is that on takeoff the airplane turn sharply to the left and is a killer to take off.

blackbird said...

I have done several runway takeoffs. One or two did go to the left but the others, especially my last takeoff, were smooth and straight out.

I agree that the main gear sink when landing.

blackbird said...

Regarding number 4 about the model ----
Landing gear does not kneel properly during cat launch: afaik there is no way to make the gear "kneel"... Therefore I made a compromise while setting the gear contact points. No corrective action planned. STATUS:CLOSED, NO ACTION (AFAIK IMPOSSIBLE)

The nose gear "kneels" very well during cat launch. The main gear do not kneel. I think "kneel" means compression.

The AB has a model bleed ----is that what it is called? The exhaust shows through the rear of the engine. This may be an FSX problem. I am in Vista DX9 at this time but will try DX10 later.

The Tomcat sits on the cat at full power without early release. The huge power of the engines is allowed to run but it stays on the cat until the keyboard command launches the Tomcat. As in the real Tomcat F-14D, the AB isn't needed for cat launch. With fuel over 80% the throttle can be about 50% and there is still more power than needed.

I think the real F-14D has a carrier approach speed of 125 KIAS but this beta release seems to be better at 137-140 KIAS and low fuel. Better flap lift may get the speed down.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

All, thanks for your inputs and comments. I will probably start to make some fixes during the weekend.

As for the kneel, I've edited the post to explain what the issue is. NOSE STRUT switch true operation (as per NATOPS paragraph 2.28.1) cannot be replicated AFAIK.

Compression during launch is not bad...I may need to edit the landing gear animation for the contact point issue...

Burner effect "bleed" does not seem to happen on my system in both DX9 and DX10. Will open the issue anyway.

Low speed flight dynamics need some work - although I think that the plane is usable and relatively stable.

blackbird said...

I've just sent an email with screenys and data.

The AB "bleed" may be my video card settings? I shall check. The AB bleed has happened to another arcraft so I do not think you have made a mistake.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Blackbird

I saw your email...will reply asap.
My experience is that different video cards give slightly visuals to FSX (difference is most visible between ATi and Nvidia).

This may also be dependent on add-ons that impact the FSX Shaders (I use FEX). I will see what I can do to improve the compatibility.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

I have just received feedback from "Guns210" who was a former F-14 pilot.

There are some interesting comments, some of them have been already discussed in this blog, while others are new. Will integrate them in the post asap. As they are "first hand" impressions they will have higher priority - I think I can fix some of them but not all of them.

blackbird said...

Fuel dump keyboard command works but there is no fuel vapor trail from the model.