Monday, July 25, 2011

Instructor cockpit

A couple of (unusally) rainy days and several requests...and the instructor cockpit for the Goshawk is almost done. It is not ready to be shown yet, as it is missing the textures, but it is coming along quite nicely - and shoul be ready by the end of the month.

Quite honestly, I'd prefer working on the new Lightning II or on the Tomcat... but it is true that the Goshawk without the instructor cockpit is somewhat incomplete. By the way the two cockpits are similar but not identical - and the unique controls of the rear cockpit will not be functional (as they either have no function in FSX -like the ejection seat sequence control switch- or too long/difficult to implement - i.e. the gunsight).

A note to repainters (if any): the rear cockpit will need an unique texture sheet and changes to the existing cockpit textures, but the outer model and its texture layout is unchanged.

Also, if I will have the time, I will also add a "Pensacola" Goshawk and an USMC repaint (as there is only one currently in the package).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Now that the Goshawk has been released...

Well, now that the Goshawk is done...I'm still working on the Goshawk. By my standards the T-45C has been an outstanding success so far as has been downloaded several thousand times in less than 3 days... still, a couple of observations set the spotlight on a couple of defects of which I was aware of... and I considered minor issues.
So, I'm still trying to fix some of the issues that still plague the v2.01 release... namely, so far I've already:
- fixed the sound bug while opening the canopy (by making the opening faster...trivial fix!)
- fixed the weird red reflection that happened sometimes (in the "glass" the separates the two cockpits)
- (almost) fixed the "stance" which was way too high. This is not as trivial as it may seem as involves quite a lot of trials and tweaks to make sure that the gear dynamics work properly in every condition, while landing on a carrier. At the moment it is not perfect, but the aircraft sits more or less in the way it is supposed to. Still...more tweaking to be done on this. Here is where we are right now:
I know that the most wanted improvement would be the addition of the instructor VC... but at the moment I cannot promise I will do it.
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.

Also, as you might be aware of, I am working on two "remake" projects: the Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat and the F-35A Lightning II.
At the moment, it is really hard for me to tell what, when and even if they will be available... I am working on them, but I am also sitting on the fence for Micorsoft Flight. I think (and hope) that there will be a way to convert .X files into whatever format Flight will support (I guess it would be another iteration of the .mdl format...). Anyway here is the situation.

F-14D Super Tomcat: the external model, based on professional meshe, is 80% done and works quite well. The virtual cockpit will be a (almost) complete remake of the current one. I know that a working RIO station would be great...but that is far beyond the scope of the project. If I had the time, I would do it...but I don't.
At the moment, this project is likely to be freeware. I had to face some significant expenses for the 3D mesh, but that was covered by the donations and the income from the payware F-35. So, unless I incur in some unexpected events, it will be free. It may well take 5-6 months before a test release is ready.

F-35A Linghtning II - This, too, has been created starting from professional (and quite expensive) 3d meshes. I cannot say I do not like my current F-35...but it does not capture some of the details of the F-35 design. The problem, with this model, is that the original mesh is using way to many the optimization work is long and tedious. What I have on the screen is quite amazing...but a lot of work is needed to make it run at an acceptable speed.
The current plan for this project is create a "production" model (albeit the picture shows the AF-1), improve the virtual cockpit (but most of it would be reused from the current one) and use the current flight model. So this project is mostly a visual improvement. Most likely this project will be payware - but as for the previous F-35, the price will be low.
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

Yesterday night I've finally completed a T-45C build that I consider good for release. Not all of the bugs have been squashed, but most of them are - and I think the overall quality is much better than the test version. There are a lot of changes with respect of the Beta build, and all of them have been carefully evaluated and implemented. To name a few:

- There is a new, custom made collimated HUD courtesy of Jivko Rusev and Scott Printz. The new HUD is almost identical to the real one, and has a "gun simulation" mode. Also, Jivko provided code to have a working Data Entry Panel (Bingo, LAW, CRS and HDG can be entered in using the keypad as in the real plane)

- There are a lot of improvements in the virtual cockpit: more clickable switches, more functionalities, more accurate caution/advisory light systems, some minor visual details. It is still far from being perfect, but it is definitely better.

- The visual model is improved, too and now there are optional (cosmetic) bomb racks, baggage pod and a several repaints, including CoNA ones.

- The flight model is better, too, with enhanced engine dynamics, drag table and much more accurate landing speeds (once again thanks to Jivko).

So, it is ready for release - but I still need to update the manual, write the readme file, zip and test the whole thing etc. - I'll do that asap. I am not sure when, but definitely it will be within the next weekend.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Slight delay in the release of the Goshawk...

Well, I planned to release the Goshawk this weekend but I could not for several reasons - mainly because of the lack of time and also because I've been experimenting with some features that were not planned originally.

Unfortunately, there is no way for me to add the instructor virtual cockpit, at the moment - as it would take too much time. Maybe I'll include that as an update later on this year.

On the good side, the model has now a refined flight model and several enhancements to the 3d models (including cosmetic bomb racks and baggage pod), and a better virtual cockpit - which now sports a fantastic (and very accurate) custom collimated HUD by Neutrino.

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...