Saturday, May 22, 2010

F-35 Lightining II - Beta 2

I've just realized that there may be a mistake in the folder structure of
the Beta 2 zip file, so it may not be installed correctly. You should move the F-35 folder in the FSX SimObject/Airplanes manually. If the installation is correct you should find three aircraft variants (AA-1, AF-01 and an unpainted one) - if you see only AA-1 then it is not correct.
My apologies for the inconvenience.

NOTE: Beta 2 has been distributed only to testers - unfortunately, the email has not reached all of the intended recipients for various reasons (including mistakes from my side). No one from the Beta team has been "banned" or intentionally left out. Unfortunately I cannot access my home email right now, nor I can fix this until my new home is connected to the internet. My apologies for any inconvenience.

UPDATE: My home computer is now operational (and with a new monitor and dedicated Raid 0 disks for FSX). Still, no internet connection at home. BTW, with a clean FSX install on Windows 7 64 bit, I experience a huge performance increase in DX10. Will write a post about that - I think my Nvidia GTX295 works much better under Win7/DX10 (compared to XP 32bit). Also, no blurries - but I guess this is more due to the Raid 0. With the same settings, DX9 is much slower (like 10-15 fps) and shows major stutters.

Unfortunatley I could not complete the RC1 version of the F-35 Lightining II project for FSX on time. As I am moving into a new home in these days I will have no time to work on it nor I will have home internet connection for a while.So, instead of the RC1, I've packed a Beta 2 release. It is not yet complete, but what is in there should be good enough for public release.

The main missing features are:
  • HMD 2D superimposed panel
  • Operational F-35 model (i.e without nose probe and with proper EOTS)
  • Model with external loads

As I will not have access to home email for a while please report EXCLUSIVELY through comments to this post.

From now on, Beta testers are authorized to discuss and comment the project publicly and post pictures (or videos) on the internet - provided that a link is given in as comment to this post.

I will resume the project and release it as soon as possible.

UPDATE - After a long struggle to make the SDK work under Win7 64bit, my home computer is operational once again (with a new monitor, a clean install of OS,FSX and SDk on new RAID hard disk). Still, no internet connection until June 3rd...


  1. JDAM pokes through weapon bay door (very small - visible only in full HD). Action: review the visual model. Status:CLOSED. Closer inspection reveals that it was a mistake in the UVW placement. Fixed on model build 59.
  2. White flash on AF-01 tail shows a small blue stripe. Action: review the texture. Status: closed - texture modified.
  3. Afterburner effects look different on DX10 preview. Action: unclear, may be it is difficult to solve without a complete redo of the effect - if so, EDIT/1: I've double checked the code and it is correct. Seems that the DX10 preview has some issues showing some special effects, at least on my machine. I will investigate other solutions, but I would not like too much modifying the existing .fx as they seem to work fine. EDIT/2: after some investigation, it looks like it depends from videocard/FSX settings - setting a limited frame rate seems to fix the issue sometimes. Basically, seems that FSX in DX10, on my system, "cuts" some special effects in order to keep the framerate high. Status:closed - no action.
  4. AF-02 Weapon Test Vehicle texture missing. Action: create the new repaint (should not be too difficult). Status:open
  5. "Mighty Gorillas" texture set and external model missing. Action: model is almost ready; create the new repaint. Status:open
  6. "Thunderbirds" texture set missing. Action: this paint scheme is technically challenging due to the texture placement; final decision pending. Status:open
  7. Jaggy shading in places. This is sue to the poly count optimization algorith I've used. This was not much visible on my previous monitor, but the new one is less forgiving, Action: improve geometry by adding polygons locally. Status: closed. Added polys in several areas.
  8. Color mismatch between side and bottom fuselage textures. Action: improve color match/blending. Status: closed (textures blend modified).
  9. Engine/fuselage interface of AF-1 model shows incorrect shading in DX10. Action: validate mesh. Status: closed (turning model into "editable mesh" fixed the issue)
  10. Remove auxiliary air intake from the upper surfaces of AF-01 and subsequent models. Action: modify the specific 3d model. Status: closed.


  1. HUD shows an halo in DX10. Action:review material propriety/disable bloom if enabled. EDIT: materials seem correct. Halo seems to be an artifact from the DX10 preview bloom algorithm. I am unsure to modify it as it looks good in DX9. Status:open
  2. MFD cover when the plane is parked was planned, and texture were made, but is not modeled yet. Action: evaluate implementation. Status: open
  3. A/T switch inop. Action: the switch is actually an A/T arm. Enable the entry in the aicraft.cfg. Status:open
  4. A/P switch inop. Action: check associated .XML code (seems to work on my machine) Status:open
  5. Request to increase the angle of the fpm on the Virtual HUD. Action: unclear. Only track-ir /freetrack users would benefit from that - for the others, seeing the fpm disappear beyond the MFD may be less desireable. Final decision pending. Status:open
  6. Mouse areas inop/misplaced. Action: awaiting to collect full list. Status:open.
  7. Minor visual interference between some details in the ejection seat area. Action: fixed in VC model 28. Status:closed.
  8. Seat cushion texture misplaced. Action:review UVW placement. Status:open


  • no issues reported so far


  • Product and flight manual missing
  • Checklists missing
  • Prepare documentation for e-commerce distributors.

Color key:

  • Green - issue solved, or mitigated to the point is acceptable or not perceived by most users.
  • Yellow -issue open, and could be perceived as product defect by many users. Awaiting action or investigation. Or issue open, mitigated to the best of my knowledge but will still be perceived as defect by users. Or issue open but appears easy to fix.
  • Red - root cause not identified as of today. Or the problem is beyond my knowledge or impossible or difficult to solve.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

F-35 Lightining II - feature complete build ready!

AF-01 model has been refined on the basis of the pictures released by Lockheed Martin recently.

This is the clean dark grey livery for repainting. An early warning to the repainters:due to some minor imperfections in the normals of some surfaces (and the resulting smoothing mistakes), repainting the fuselage in very light colors may highlight these minor defects - which are completely invisible with the default liveries or in similar colors. Should not be an issue for the vast majority of the liveries.

This is the latest build of the MFD. Several functions can be controlled by the touch screen, and you can manage its configuration in a much more flexible way than the previous builds. Still, most of the more advanced functions of the F-35 are not emulated.

Cockpit graphics have been kept as close as possible to the real plane, but some artistic licence has been taken. Also, the source material was not homogeneous (most source photos came from the AA-1 cockpit, while others were from BF-1, mock-ups and simulators). For example, the wires nearby the pedals should be covered by panels, and AFAIK the area below the MFD controls will be different in the actual planes - these discrepancies are due to the fact that the best photos I have were taken during the assembly of the AA-1 cockpit.

Yet another picture of the AF-1 over Fort Worth.

And one last for the AF-1. The real AF-1 has been retired to live-fire "slaughter" for battle damage assessment. Note the scorched surface on the left vertical stabilizer, due to the nearby exhaust of the APU. This exhaust has been moved to the lower side, afaik, with the exception of the F-35C's (due to deck crew safety concerns I think).

A very rainy evening has finally given me the time (and will) I needed to complete the remake of the MFD, which was the major oustanding item in my F-35 to-do list. The cockpit now has all the planned functions - while are fewer than the ones of the real F-35, they should be good enough for most users.
So the package is almost complete, meaning it needs some very minor debugging and the external model need to be checked against the recently released pictures of AF-1 and AF-2.
Then I need to write the checklists and the manuals and then it is ready.
The major delay will probably come from the fact that I am moving to a new home during the next couple of weeks... so I really can't tell when I will be able to release it. But I hope that the pictures above show that the project is in a very good shape and VERY close to completition.
PS - The visit of the Garibaldi STOVL carrier to my hometown - and the fact that I'm seeing it every day driving to my workplace, is revamping my intest in making the F-35B, too. The conversion is not easy as it may seem - but I'll probably give it a try.

Monday, May 3, 2010

La Garibaldi in porto a Genova !

Se vi capita di passare al porto di Genova in questi giorni, c'è la Garibaldi ormeggiata a Ponte dei Mille! Purtroppo non ho avuto occasione di visitarla, ma anche da lontano è uno spettacolo. La nave è ormeggiata a Ponte dei Mille e vi resterà fino al 5 Maggio, quando ospiterà il Presidente della Repubblica per le celebrazioni del centocinquantesimo anniversario dell'impresa dei Mille.
If you happen to step by the harbour of Genoa (not far from my home) in these days, you can see the Garibaldi light carrier docked at Ponte dei Mille. The ship is the smallest of the two Italian STOVL carriers, the other one being the Cavour. The Garibaldi is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, the national hero who 150 years ago led the "Mille" military expedition resulted in the unification of Italy.
Photos taken from the web.