F-35 Lightning II - As you may be aware of, I am working on a new high-res model based on quite expensive high resolution meshes. It is not far from being complete - but there are some bad news. It is a frame rate hog. It looks beautiful, but the vast majority of the users will not be able to run it at decent frame rates. I have tried several solutions, but they do not seem to work for several reasons. I am undecided what to to with it. Maybe Flight can handle it in a much more efficient way? I do not know - and again I do not know how easy it will be to import it in Flight. It probably requires 12-15 hours of work before release.
Flight Simulation projects by Dino Cattaneo. Current home to the T-45C Goshawk, F-14D Tomcat, S-3B Viking and F-35 Lightning II projects for Flight Simulator X:Acceleration and Prepar3D v3.0. Also: opinions, reviews and findings about recreational flight simulation and flight games.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Sorry for lack of updates!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Now that the Goshawk has been released...
I will gather all the modifications and improvements I can implement before my summer vacations (that will start on August 1st) and release an update before leaving.
As it is not a complete remake, I expect this to be flyable in late September.
Of course, every sentence above is subject to change... mostly depending on the Flight release date, characteristics and (mostly) the possibility to import/use my models in the new Simulator (which looks amazing IMHO)...
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
T-45C cleared to taxi and hold short
Monday, July 4, 2011
Slight delay in the release of the Goshawk...
I am not sure when I will be able to release it - I hope within few days, but this will be a very busy week for me, so I can't tell for sure...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Last call to download the Beta - and CoNA repaints!
This post is "last call" for anyone who may want to give a try to the Beta release. I will delete the download link tomorrow morning (European time) as that build is no more representative of the status of the project.
Most of the recurrent complaints have been addressed, like the cockpit night lighting which has been completely redone (and looks quite good IMHO). Also, the flight model has been tweaked a little - and carrier landing paramters should be closer to the real thing (although I think that carrier landings will be slightly harder for most users).
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
T-45C Goshawk for Flight Simulator X - Beta Test Work-In-Progress Report
Please report bugs, issues and suggestions from the Beta release as comments to this post. I will update this post once in a while but I will review it almost daily for the next two-three weeks. The plan is to release the new Goshawk by the end of June.
2) Aircraft is sitting too high on the ground. STATUS: OPEN. ACTION: TBD. The model previously was previously sitting much lower, but gear dynamics / animation had issues. Correct setting seem to work much better. Unsure to change it or not.
3) Evaluate addition of external loads. STATUS: open. ACTION: try to merge external loads from previous model and see how it looks and evaluate impact on frame rate. This is not a priority for me, but it would be a nice- to-have feature for some.
4) Remapping textures to allow "wrap around" repaints. STATUS: CLOSED.
5) Add missing details to the speed brakes. STATUS: CLOSED (modified 3d model).
POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL FEATURES:
Bomb racks & baggage pod: it would be possible to reimport them from the old T-45C model. Visibility can be mapped to load stations or doors.
- 165629 / A107 "Eagles" CO scheme
- 165088 / A109 "Tigers" CO scheme
- 167081 / B303
- A101 & B200 Centennial of Naval Aviation "retro" schemes
NEXT IN THE LINE:
- TBD Sabrehawk bird
1) HUD parallax effect is buggy (sometimes does not return into its proper position). STATUS: CLOSED (FIXED - removed unnecessary animation of the view cone).
2) HUD missing "E" bracket. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: None. This project reuses standard MFDs and HUDs from stock Hornet. It may be possible to install the enhanced HUD from Neutrino and Scott Prinz as a third party add-on.
NOTE: Report from Neutrino shows that the view cone and projection plane should be change to properly apply the improved HUD -> I will modify the drawing accordingly.
UPDATE: First integration with new HUD from Neutrino was positive - and it looks really good!
3) MFDs bugs. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: None. Default MFDs from the stock Hornet seem to have issues with the Goshawk. MFD code should be redone from scratch, but I have no time for that and most of the pages and functions work correctly.
4) FF Indicator. Fix Pound-per-hour/pound-per-minute marking. STATUS: OPEN. ACTION: Modify texture..
5) Turn indicator, Aoa Indicator, Stanby Attitude indicator: add "OFF" flag if possibile. STATUS: CLOSED; ACTION: Modified 3d model, flag shape is not accurate but does its job.
6) Night lighting too bright (especially in DEP area). STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: reduced considerably the night lighting map for the VC, DEP is now clearly readable - will evaluate dimming the flood light, too.
7) Engine instruments: Check in-game readings versus real values. If possible, modify readings to match the real ones. STATUS: OPEN. ACTION: TBD
8) Speedbrake lights are wrong in color. STATUS: CLOSED (FIXED - redone graphics and visibility conditions, also redone launch bar graphics and visibility conditions).
9) VVI needle not sitting at zero when it should. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: Fixed animation in 3d model, also got rid of a bug that made readings not accurate in certain conditions.
10) Fuel quantity gauge inaccurate. STATUS: CLOSED (FIXED - animation was mapped to the wrong variable)
11) MASTER CAUTION light turns on at 50% fuel quantity. STATUS: CLOSED. Action: new .xml code.
12) Tailhook lever animation: mapped to tailhook position rather than the handle. STATUS:CLOSED. ACTION: fixed animation association.
13) Tailhook warning light, 3d model moves during activation. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: New visibility XML code.
14) Check functionality and animation of all light switches. STATUS: OPEN. ACTION: check animation and mouse click areas
15) Reprogramming of all warning/advisory lights ongoing. STATUS: OPEN. ACTION: reprogram all the .xml code for the warning and advisory lights for more accurate functionality.
16) Add more conditions to the red/light launch bar light. STATUS: CLOSED: Green light turns off when N2 is above 95% (to achieve a "no lights" condition before launch as in real life) and red light turns on when launch bar is not retracted and plane is airborne.
17) BINGO values can be set correctly and are digested by the system, but they are not integrated in the Caution/warning lights. STATUS: OPEN. Action: edit .xml coding.
18) LAW value can be set correctly but shows only in the mouse information tag. STATUS: OPEN. Action: evaluate integration in the altimeter.
19) Altimeter cannot be set by the VC. STATUS: OPEN. Action: add mouse area for altimeter setting.
1) Catapult endspeed is way too high (above 200 kts). This is due to the fact that the Goshawk uses default catapult dynamics, which are set for the F/A-18 Hornet and cannot be changed (but can be overwritten by additional code). STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION:None from my side. This cannot be fixed without additional code - Sylvain will provide a standalone fix for this.
2) Approach speed and settings: monitor user feedback - IMHO the landing behaviour is.good (but not perfect) and does its carrier-training job quite nicely. STATUS: CLOSED. Vast majority of users is happy with the carrier landing behaviour, however it has been modified for more accurate AoA and speeds (most user will probably find that it is more difficult).
3) Engine settings at idle: engine idle should be around 55+/-2 %, also idle speed should not be able to move the a/c on the ground. STATUS: CLOSED (fixed engine dynamics and gauges animation).
4) Evaluation of several fixes/improvements to the flight model. Most users seem to have no issue with that - carrier landings are close and easy to do but not perfect. I am currently evaluating some changes - I know the flight model is far from being perfect, but I have too confess that I consider the current one to be quite good... hence, I will evaluate each and every change carefully. Flight models are sometimes tricky: you fix one aspect and do not realize you are screwing up others... STATUS: OPEN - ACTION: MONITOR
6) Landing gear damage threshold is low. Some users experienced damages to the landing gear while landing. The damage threshold was lowered on purpose to force users to perform smotther landings but, with new dynamics and more accurate AoA during descent, it is extremely easy to damage the gear. STATUS: CLOSED Gear stiffness increased to the same values of the old T-45.
MISCELLANEOUS & OTHER:
1) Flight manual paragraph numbering is not correct in chapter 10. STATUS: OPEN. ACTION: fix source document and pdf.
2) One user reported "click" sounds on the sound package. Cannot replicate that issue. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: none - I think the sound pack is quite good, although I am not an expert in this field. Much better than any default alias.
Green - issue solved, or mitigated to the point is acceptable or not perceived by most users. Or a minor issue that will be present in the final build as it would require way too much work to be fixed, and does not spoil the general quality of the project.
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 - major issue for most user that needs to be solved before release, or an issue with a root cause not identified as of today. Or the problem is beyond my knowledge or impossible or too difficult to solve.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Open Beta version release soon
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
T-45C 3D Modeling complete
The next step is go through the NATOPS and see if there are any major mistakes in flight and system modeling I am unaware of. I am quite happy with the flight model, and I think it does its job nicely for a FSX carrier trainer. Also, it is well beyond the scope of this project to provide 100% realism and system modeling. Still, a final review before the testing phase is needed - and doing so I am also preparing a (sort of) flight manual.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Payware F-35 - closing sales, apologies for the lack of support and 2.0 version.
As the real F-35 project is getting momentum (with first flight of AF-8 and CF-3 pre-series aircrafts) I have reviewed the status of my payware F-35 project.
Again, my most humble apologies for that. I will setup new email addresses as soon as possible.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Flight testing and changes to the flight model
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Almost ready for a Beta Build
Some more pics of the new Goshawk. The front cockpit is now functional - more or less at the same level of functionality of my previous Goshawk, but it is definitely more accurate. The external model is done - just a couple of bug-fixes and it is ready. Everything looks good for a test release at the end of this month. It may well be a "public beta" that is I am considering to make a public release of the test version - as it is unclear to me if and when I will have more time to work on this project.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Some screenshots of the new T-45... including cockpit images!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The real F-35 Full Mission Simulator
As my previous post was about the real T-45C simulator, here is a picture of the first real "Full Mission" Simulator of the F-35, recently delivered by Lockheed Martin to Eglin Air Force Base's 33rd Fighter Wing.
Obviously this simulator sports state-of-the-art fidelity and realism, as well as a top-notch visualization system and, of course, can be set to simulate all the variants of the F-35.
Back to videogames (yes...I am a blasphemer...I still consider FSX just a videogame...) I have some good news. Meaning that I've made some significant progress with the T-45C student/pilot cockpit...and graphically I'd say it is 90% complete - I just miss some minor details here and there and I'd like to redo a couple of textures. It looks good IMHO. It is mostly "hand-drawn" meaning it looks less photographic and a little more stylized - but it is also much closer to the real deal - and IMHO it is closer to the general graphic style of FSX (& Flight - I hope that it will be possible to port it to the new simulator). Long story short it looks better than the previous one - and it is also less resouce-intensive so that it may be possible to model the instructor cockpit too (albeit I will probably not replicate some minor differences between the two cockpits that are there in the real plane - like different layout of external lights controls to name one). Still the instructor cockpit presence is not confirmed - I may not have time to complete it in a reasonable time.
I will post some WIP pictures of the new cockpit as soon as I've placed all the missing details - probably during the next weekend.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Now, that is a T-45C simulator...
This is (or should be) an actual screenshot... Javier's carrier looks definitely much better :-)
I've recently spotted on the internet few pics of the "real thing", that is the real T-45C simulator... So here they are. The simulator is static and sports a pretty wide screen (although we "simmers" know that it is not the best of the best out there) which seems very effective. In terms of graphics, well, Javier's carrier looks much better IMHO :-) but again, these simulators are not made to impress with graphic realism (or have fun), their job is to help you learning the instruments and the procedures... Then, given the high standards of many "hardcore simmers" (i.e. "I bet I could land a real Tomcat even if I've never touched a real plane" armchair pilot) , I'd bet that there is someone that may consider this simulator "too arcade" :-) Talking about arcade games...for those who missed them, there are some new Microsoft Flight screens on the official website (here). The pattern seems to be a monthly update (alternating screenshots and videos). I think it looks pretty good. Although many will think it is very similar to FSX, on closer inspection, there are some interesting tweaks that make it look much better (for example a MUCH better shadow algorithm - which include autogen now). On the graphic side, I'd say so far so good. I just hope the performance will be good. Also, I think that, at this point it seems clear that, in spite of the name change, this seems to be a new version of Flight Simulator. It will probably have some more missions (which I like) and a "casual mode" (which to allow your 5 years old son fly a 747, but I'm sure it will be optional). I'd be surprised if the maximum level of realism will be lower than the one of FSX - and I honestly can't wait to see more of this new release. I just hope that there will be an efficient way to convert FSX native add-ons to Flight...
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
T-45C External model complete
My apologies for the lack of updates - I've been very busy in the past few weeks and I had very little time (and will) to work on my FSX projects. Needless to say I've completely missed my target of delivering a Beta version of the new Goshawk before the end of Februrary - and I'm still at least 30 work-hours away from that target.
Monday, January 31, 2011
New Flight screenshots from Microsoft
Microsoft has just published some new screenshots of Flight, along with a much awaited clarification about the Windows Live tag of the new simulator (which generated some speculation that Flight could only be used online).
The new screenshots can be viewed here .
The general opinion is that Flight looks much like FSX - and I think it is true to some extent. Yes, it looks similar... but if you watch closely the screenshots and the video shown so far, you'll notice some significant improvements - like a much better scenery "creation" and better shadows.
I mean the "syntesized" scenery -textures, rivers, coastline, roads and autogen- look definitely better (e.g. coastlines look more realistic) and less prone to some mistakes in the current FSX system (for example the roads and rivers merge much better with the base textures).
As for the shadows, it seems that the algorythm is much more realistic and shadows are much less "abrupt".
I just hope there will be a way to import some of the work done by many designers in FSX. I think it is OK to drop FS9 code compatibility, but I hope the native .mdls can be imported -or at least Microsoft could provide an .X files converter. Should not be much of a problem, as the .X file should be a "DirectX friendly" file format...and then I see the FSX Orion Maule in the screenshots...
Anyway, what we have seen so far looks like a refined FSX. Which is a good thing IMHO. But we all know what we need most: a modern, efficient code that can benefit from current hardware.