Friday, June 27, 2014

...and here we go again. F-14D Tomcat Version v2.33

Sorry but I could not resist, and here is another update for the F-14D Tomcat. Thing is, while I was writing the code for the Viking (and for the T-45C update) and following feedback from the users, I realized that there were a couple of missing features in the Tomcat and Goshawk avionics that could be implemented with no effort.

So here we go:

June 27th, 2014
- added ILS needles in MFD ADI
- added ILS needles in MFD HUD
- added VOR bearing needle in HSI
- added Course deviation scale in HSI
- added VRS Carrier support to the HSI (shows as Tacan)

As usual, you can download the file from the side bar.
The T-45C Goshawk update will be held until the new Tacpack update is released.
The S-3B Viking will be released most probably in a couple of weeks.

By the way, I do not have time to upload the file to Avsim and Flightsim (takes more than one hour and sometimes it fails from home!), in general, I will not do it in future.
Should you want to upload the file to any repository, you are welcome to do so - provided the site is free.  In any case, the only place guaranteed to have the latest version is this blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

...and yet another Tomcat update (version 2.32)

I believe it is hardly surprising that, while testing the S-3B Viking, few more minor bugs pop out on the other aicrafts... and I feel the urge to fix them (this is getting embarassing... as starting to look like a mild for of OCD)...

Anyway, here is the list of changes:
June 26th, 2014
- Fixed very minor glitch in ADI backlighting
- Fixed bug preventing HUD Declutter to work
- Reworked stores configurator: now shows current weights and limitations
- Fixed bug preventing "LAUNCH" button in RIO stations from working. Button now fires A/A missiles.
- Few additional buttons can now be switched on/off (but no function)
- Added automatic retraction of launch bar
- Fixed bug preventing the manual control of the Radar Elevation in the RIO cockpit (Tacpack). Radar is anyway re-centered when A/S or GUN mode is invoked.
Download from the side bar as usual. Let me know if those fixes screwed up something else (as it is sometimes the case - the F-14D avionics is starting to be quite a large piece of code and mistakes may well happen!)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Current status of my projects...

First my apologies for not having replied to some of your messages and questions... I try to do what I can to reply to everybody, but I do not have much time and providing support is difficult... sorry for that.
Anyway, here is a quick recap on where we are with my various flight simulation projects... let's start with the older ones:

T-45C GoshawkI have spotted (and already fixed in my internal build) a couple of minor bugs in the Goshawk cockpit...but the big news is that the Tacpack will finally implement training bombs, and so I will update the Goshawk accordingly... so basically I am waiting for VRS to update the Tacpack before proceeding. Should that not happen in the next few weeks, I will release the bug-fixing update anyway.

F-14D Tomcat
No plans for further update at the moment. There may be a P3Dv2-only version in the far future.

F-35A/B/C Lightning II
There are a couple of things that I would like to improve/fix...also I have received a tweaked flight model from an user that, in many instances, seems to replicate well the (very few) performance and flight test results available to the public. I need to find the time to test the new flight model properly, to make sure there are no pitfalls... anyway looks like it may be worth another update. 

S-3B Viking
Feedback from the Beta testing phase is largely positive and ecouraging, thank you! There seem to be very few things that need fixing which is a very good result IMHO.
I will proceed with bug fixing asap - it may take two/three weeks to fix the issues and release version 1.00.

MB.326/339 projectThis is looking very good IMHO. At the moment, the external model of the MB.326E is 95% complete (except the ordnance)... project strategy is still TBD, as the top priority is to deliver the Viking.

Aside, given the time these projects are taking is growing so that this activity has almost become a second job, I am considering, once again, the possible switch to "freemium" payware strategy. For example, we may have the ES-3 and US-3 models to be available as payware (while the S-3 will aways remain freeware) and/or the additional MB.326 models (e.g. the Tacpack enabled versions, or the single seat version) as payware, while the base model will remain free...
At the moment I am just thinking about that... then we will see. The main target, for me, is and will Always be to get the best quality with the few resources I have for this hobby...but as you may guess, this FSX-hobby of mine has grown to quite large proportions...
Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Monday, June 9, 2014

S-3B Viking - Beta Release / DOWNLOAD WITHDRAWN


Given that I will not have much time to work on the Viking during the next few weeks, I have decided to release the S-3B Viking "Beta" version as is.
This is a testing version only - you are welcome to download it and fly it, but you should expect several malfunctions and issues.

Please report any bug or issue you find - the preferred way is to leave a comment to this post.
As per my previous testing campaigns, the bug reports / change requests are color coded (you may want to specify if the problem you found is "green", "yellow" or "red" according to you):
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 - the issue is severe and spoils the experience significantly for many users; root cause not identified as of today or the problem is beyond my knowledge or impossible or very difficult to solve for me.

As I said, you are welcome to download the file, fly the Viking and report your impressions, but *PLEASE* stick to the following rules:
- Report your issues as comments to this post
- Before reporting an issue, make sure it is not aleady on the list
- Before reporting an issue please check what are the exact condition in which it happens.
- Please refrain from "opinions", if possible check against the flight manual (It can be easily found with Google, and can be read online at avialogs)
- Please understand this will not be a complete rendition of the S-3B Viking. The aicraft is very complex, and I am looking for a "medium" realism version. Specifically, weapon system will be very simplifed.
- TAKE YOU TIME: I won't be working on the Viking for a week or two. Take your time to test it: there is not hurry, and it is not a competition to report as many bugs as fast as you can. It is much more important to clearly identify the bug. Basically if you have not spent a couple of hours flying the Viking, it is probably too soon to report a bug.
- Rivet counters beware: I do not like you :-)
- Please DO NOT REDISTRIBUTE the file. It is a test version: it is not good enough for a wider release.

Project status (updated on 06-09-2014):

External model:
External model is almost complete and I do not envision making many changes in the final version. Please note that exit #2 is mapped to the refuel probe, exit#3 is mapped to the weapon bay doors, exit#4 extends flir, refuel hose and MAD boom. Note that, if a refuel pod is present, SENSO and TACCO and Mad Boom will be removed. If you do not have the Tacpack, external loads can be changed with following weights:

//STATION 1 and 6 (Underwing pylons)
//DUMB BOMBS MK84, 1992lbs; MK83, 986lbs;
//MK82, 558lbs + LAUNCHER 250lbs = 808lbs
//LAU68, 250lbs + LAUNCHER 250lbs = 500lbs
//AGM65, 650lbs + LAUNCHER 200lbs = 845lbs
//MK82, 558lbs; LAU-68, 250lbs.
//REFUEL POD 843 lbs
//EXT FUEL TANK 381 lbs
//AGM-84D 1400 lbs
//STATION 2 to 5, only MK82, 558lbs

Open issues:
EX01 - Mk.46 Torpedos not modeled: CLOSED - Modeled REXTORP and added to external model. 20/6/14
EX02 - Change animation sequence of refuel hose to make it compatible with multiplayer: OPEN
EX03 - Refuel tanks are missing the specular maps: CLOSED. Added specular map to fuel tanks. 20/6/14
EX04 - Beacon light on the tail fin does not follow the fin folding animation: CLOSED - fixed 3D model and hardcoded light into mdl and linked to tailfin animation. Fixed on 9/6/14
EX05 - Bug in flap animation: CLOSED - Known issue from previous build, flap system not in sync with commanded positions. Error in aicraft.cfg prevented proper link of the animations.
EX06 - Left aileron animation incorrectly mapped to horizontal stabilized: CLOSED - fixed 3D model. Fixed on 9/6/14
EX07 - Request to have separate textures for flaps inner surfaces (in order to add Modex digits). FIXED. Upper surface of inner port flaps no more mirrored. Fixed on 25/6/14
EX08 - AoA indexer light is reversed in the external model. CLOSED. Visibility tags assignment was wrong... Fixed on 25/6/14
EX09 - Wheels animation is incorrect (only 180°) - Status: CLOSED 27/7
EX10 - Small gap between bay door and fuselage - Status: CLOSED, not completely solved bit mitigated. 27/7

Virtual cockpit:
Modeling of the VC is almost complete too - there are some minor details missing, but it will not change much. Most of the instruments needed to conduct a safe VFR flights are in place and working, but cockpit functionality is not complete.

Open issues:
VC01 - ILS not showing on ADI: CLOSED. Added ILS Needles to ADI, both for regular Navaids and Tacpacl carrier. 27/6/14
VC02 - Armament digital display not working (shows moving map as placeholder): CLOSED - Added basic SMS indications, 27/7
VC03 - Minor bugs in radio controls: CLOSED. Fixed errors in XML code. 7/7/14
VC04 - Minor details in COTAC station missing, also station not accessible: CLOSED. Added missing details and point of view. 7/7/2014
VC05 - Autopilot controls incomplete: OPEN
VC06 - Missing refuel pod controls: OPEN
VC07 - Some warning lights stay lit even in power is off: CLOSED. All warning lights now enslaved to battery status. 14/7
VC08 - Tacpack driven weapon system interface incomplete:CLOSED 28/7
VC09 - Missing Copilot view. CLOSED (left ouut on purpose on Beta, added to .cfg file). 20/6/14
VC10 - Red beacon light peeks through VC. Closed (modified strobe light effect). 20/6/14
VC11 - Missing speed target indication on ADI. Status: CLOSED. Added 26/7
VC12 - Missing VOR station / Tacpack Tacan indication on HSI: CLOSED. Added ILS in ADI and VOR Bearing in HSI. Also, support for Tacpack-generated navaids added. 28/6
VC13 - Fix course deviation indicator on HSI: CLOSED. Scale factor fixed. 28/6
VC14 - Missing mirror reflections in rearview mirrors: CLOSED. Went for regular bitmap 26/7
VC15 - Backlighting issues in some instruments. CLOSED - fixed backlighting conditions. 14/7
VC16 - Flight Control System lights peed through upper panel. CLOSED - fixed mdl. 14/7
VC17 - For consistency, some 2D details in the copilot VC should be turned into 3D. CLOSED 24/7
VC18 - Copilot EFIS control not working. Status: CLOSED 25/7
VC19 - Add ECM ready light. Status: CLOSED 28/7
VC20 - Add STA5 and STA6 missile fire lights. Status: CLOSED 28/7

Flight modeling:
The Beta features a "draft" flight model... I have not spent much time in testing the flight model, although generally the behaviour seems acceptable, including carrier landings.

Open issues:
FM01 - Takeoff run too short: OPEN - Check against NATOPS
FM02 - Carrier approach slightly too slow: OPEN - Check against NATOPS
FM03 - Weird "bouncing" issue before cat-launch (apparently only on Tacpack-driven carriers, a/c can be shot and issues disappears when throttles are at idle...). OPEN - Apparently the fix applied does not work every time...need to think of another solution :-(
FM04 - Wrong wing station location: fix aicraft.cfg file. CLOSED - wrong fuel external fuel tank location in aicraft.cfg. Fixed on 9/6/14

FM05 - Missing fuel dump entry in aircraft.cfg. CLOSED - Added missing entry to aircraft.cfg file, 20/6/14
FM06 - Outdated reference to old DSB Viking effects (remove). CLOSED - Removed entries from aircraft.cfg file, 20/6/14
FM07 - Minor issues with Landing gear dynamics. To be investigated. CLOSED - Fixed 29/7
FM08 - Wrong references to HTML files in the checklists. CLOSED - HTML are now poiting to a aicraft limitations information file. 29/7
FM09 - Automatic retraction of the launch bar fails. CLOSED - Note that this is an expected behaviour for SDK-compliant aicrafts and happens in many other aicrafts. Users still perceive this as a defects, so an XML automatic switch for launch bar was added. 25/6/14
FM10 - Incorrect wing apex position. Status: CLOSED. Fixed wing position flight dynamics 26/7
FM11 - Gear retraction too slow. Status: CLOSED. Gear retraction time was the same indicated in the NATOPS but this appeared to be slower than the real thing. 27/7

Tacpack functionalities:

This version was not meant to have any Tacpack functionality, but given that some are already in place I left them in. Basically, the weapon configurator should work, and you can fire rockets and dumb bombs. AGM-84 missiles will not work, nor will the refuel pod, chaffs and flares. NOTE: FILES ARE *NOT* SIGNED: will not be possible to fly in multiplayer if the server cheat control is active.

Open issues:
TP01 - Internal weapons can be released even if doors are closed: CLOSED. Fixed Tacpack code. 8/7/2014
TP02 - Radar functionality not implemented: CLOSED. Implemented basic Radar functionalities (controls on Rio Stations)...
TP03 - Refuel pod functionality not implemented: OPEN
TP04 - ECM functionality not implemented: CLOSED. Implemented basic ECM functionality (Jammer, flares, chaffs)... 26/7
TP05 - AGM-84D/H functionality not implemented: CLOSED. Implemented release capability of AGM-84 missiles.
TP06 - Tacpack-based Navaids will not show on EFIS: CLOSED. ILS now shows on ADI, Tacan pointer shows on the HSI. 28/6
TP07 - Tacpack IFR functionality not correctly implemented. CLOSED. 26/7

Miscellaneous issues:

MI01 - Inclusion of additional repaints: CLOSED. Added repaints received from Antonio Diaz and Russel R. Smith. 7/7/2014
MI02 - Create new thumbnails for all the liveries: CLOSED  - Redone thumbnails. 7/7/2014

MI03 - Create final installation documentation: OPEN
MI04 - Create checklists: OPEN
MI05 - Create product documentatio (either flight manual or reference sheets): OPEN

MI06 - Missing carrier trap sound: CLOSED. Fixed on 24/7/2014


Monday, June 2, 2014

F-14D Tomcat - Update to version 2.31

While testing the S-3B Viking, I have spotted some annoying defects on my other aicrafts... needless to say I felt the need to fxi them, so here we go with a further update to the Tomcat.
Updates to the F-35 Lightning II and to the T-45C are also coming in the next few days.
Change log as follows - and download link on the side bar as usual.

June 2nd, 2014
- Fixed a bug that caused the Radio-altimeter not to work in the latest versions
- Fixed minor backlighting bug (digits in instruments not backlit)
- Changed flood lighting color to green (as per NATOPS)
- Fixed bug causing CSEL DEC function in MFDs not to work (courtesy of James F. Chams)
- Minor code cleanup