Thursday, September 24, 2015

F-35 Version 3 - Beta Test Log

This post has the purpose to collect the feedback from Beta testing, and allow both myself and the testers to share the status of the open issues.
Beta testers are kindly invited to:
- Log a minimum of 3hrs in the F-35A/B before posting
- Before reporting an issue, make sure it is not already included in the list below. In case it is, please do not
- Provide feedback either by commenting this post (preferred) or by email
- While reporting an issue, please be as specific as possible. Try to replicate it and identify the conditions that generate the issue.
A couple of notes which may be unclear or obscure in the operation of the F-35:
- HMD "X-ray" vision: the "brake" key activates this function while in the air. There is currently a bug, as the zoom level stays linked to the EXP value. Note that in some case Tacpack seems to "hang" and the function is not working as intended. If so, reloading the aircraft should fix the situation. This is done assuming that most people will have a stick button mapped to wheel brakes
- To save memory, some pages which have no use if maximized cannot be maximized to half-screen view.
- You can designate a ground target in the TSD mode, by selecting the ATK mode (just click anywhere in the TSD window) "phantom" triangle means that the target is designated, but no proper weapon is selected
- STOVL functions work much like the previous version: HOVER and VTOL are inhibited if weight is above 4600 lbs
- Files are NOT validated for multiplayer in Tacpack
- From leaked Pirep, F-35 tends to loose a lot of energy a high Alpha maneuvering / dogfighting. Note that initial release has quite a low pitch control authority. 
- Test points for engine performance ("tactical" configuartion should be 2 x JDAM + 2 x AIM120, no SW). Note: F-35 cannot supercruise, leaked transonic acceleration are available too.
Current package version: Version 3.00 Beta 3
Last Update: November 23nd 2015
External model

F35_MDL_1 - Missing autoflaps and other FCS animations. Status: CLOSED. Added XML animation control on Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_MDL_2 - Missing texture for Norway. Status: CLOSED. Added on Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_MDL_3 - Check minor details in main Landing gear texturing. Status: CLOSED. 4/10/2015
F35_MDL_4 - Change navigation lights default effect, as generates visual anomaly in P3dV3. Status: CLOSED. Changed effects on Beta 2 build. 27/09/2015
F35_MDL_5 - Introduce delayed animation for engine exhaust flaps - DROPPED due to lack of time and resources
F35_MDL_6 - Introduce clickable "remove before flight" areas in external model for P3Dv3 - DROPPED due to lack of time and resources
F35_MDL_7 - Introduce external model configurator mouse area for P3Dv3 - DROPPED due to lack of time and resources
F35_MDL_8 - Formation lights - check dependency of formation lights from battery status. Status: CLOSED 10/08 Beta 2    
F35_MDL_9 - Potential XML malformed inside F-35B external model file. Status: CLOSED 10/08 Fixed Modeldef.xml in Beta 2
F35_MDL_10 - Added black mask to external model MFD when power is off. Status: CLOSED 10/08 Beta 2
F35_MDL_11 - Fixed Mouse Areas in external model. Status: CLOSED
F35_MDL_12 - Add F-35C external and internal models. Status: CLOSED - F-35 CATOBAR models and VF-101 livery completed.
Virtual cockpit and Avionics
F35_VC_1 - Fix HMD graphics not matching to real symbology (A/S target and Others). Status: CLOSED; Changed some of HMD graphics for more accurate resemblance to real HMD. Beta 2, 28/09/2015
F35_VC_2 - Missing BINGO, FUEL LO, MASKED, PULL UP cues from HMD. Status: CLOSED. Added missing cues to HMD code. Beta 2, 28/09/2015
F35_VC_3 - Missing refuel probe and Lift Fan geometry from F-35B cockpit. Status: CLOSED
F35_VC_4 - MFD FUE page, bug in MFSOV closure. Status: CLOSED. Also, fixed bug in FUEL full screen mode.
F35_VC_5 - MFD ASR page, add possibility to designate targets in SAR mode. Status: CLOSED. It is now possible to ASGN targets from the radar page.
F35_VC_6 - MFD TFLIR page, basic functionality and graphics incomplete. Status: CLOSED. TFLIR AUTO, MAN, AA, AS, VV modes implemented, as well as AUTO and MANUAL Zoom.
F35_VC_7 - MFD HUD page, add possibility to slave TFLIR. Status: CLOSED. HUD now can slave TFLIR rather than DAS. Beta 2, 30/09/2015
F35_VC_8 - MFD SRCH page, change default presentation to Range versus Az. Status: CLOSED - Decided to keep AZ/EL presentation and fixed display and aspect issues. Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_VC_9 - MFD TFLIR, DAS pages, add A/S target cueing. Status: CLOSED - Added A/S cueing to both DAS and TFLIR pages. Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_VC_10 - Add "bullseye" information to TFLIR, DAS, TSD pages. Status: OPEN
F35_VC_11 - MFD TSD Missing target information / shoot list. Status: CLOSED 10/07
F35_VC_12 - MFD DAS/TFLIR pages, North Arrow inaccurate. Status: CLOSED 10/07
F35_VC_13 - MFD Master Switch also toggles VC. Status: CLOSED. Separated avionics master functions from MFD functions. 10/10; Beta 2
F35_VC_14 - DAS zoom level does not get reset to default value if "X-Ray" vision is enabled. STATUS: CLOSED, fixed XML code of DAS.XML in Beta 2 build 24/09 NOTE: This also affects Xray vision.
F35_VC_15 - ASR mode curson does not show at "NORM" zoom level. Status: CLOSED 10/07
F35_VC_16 - HMD Heading indicator not normalized. Status CLOSED, fixed XML code of HMD overlay in Beta 2 build.25/09
F35_VC_17 - ASR mode, image warped. Status: CLOSED, Beta 2 build 29/09/2015 - Note: warp was caused as I tried to improve the radar image resolution... better leave the default values!!!
F35_VC_18 - Fuel Dump: consider inhibition when on ground. Status: CLOSED. Fuel dump now inhibited while on ground, also inhibited if less than 1000lbs. Valve will now closed if one of these conditions are met. Beta 2 build, 27/09
F35_VC_19 - TFLIR camera: consider inhibition of VV slaving when on ground. Status: CLOSED. Added "sim on ground" bypass code, if on ground TFLIR looks forward. Fixed in Beta 2 build. 26/09
F35_VC_20 - MFD SMS: current station not highlighted. Status: CLOSED. Fixed in Beta 2 build 26/09 by changing XML... source of problem unknown as previous code seemed legit.
F35_VC_21 - MFD DAS: in some cases manual zoom control does not work. Status: CLOSED. Rewrote code, now working. Beta 2 build 26/09.
F35_VC_22 - SRCH page shows as PHM-INOP when in subportal. Status: CLOSED. Graphic error - fixed in Beta 2 build 27/09
F35_VC_23 - TFLIR image does not show in subportal. Status: CLOSED. Wrong transparency setting - fixed in Beta 2 build 27/09
F35_VC_24 - Request to add selectable laser codes to TFLIR page for multiplayer purposes. Status: CLOSED - Laser code is now displayed in the TFLIR page and can be changed by the user by clicking on the lower section of the TFLIR page.
F35_VC_25 - TFLIR A/S Targeting inaccurate for F-35B (probably due to panel aliasing issue). Status:CLOSED - Apparently fixed with help from VRS...
F-35_VC_26 - Add A-A SPD and ALT indications to HMD
F-35_VC_27 - Add A-S DIST and ALT indication to HMD
F-35_VC_28 - Missing Weapon release cues to TSD. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_29 - ATK mode bug if in full screen TSD Mode (continuos designation). Status: CLOSED 10/07
F-35_VC_30 - Bug: if TSD3 selected, menu drives MFD3 instead of 2.... STATUS: CLOSED 10/07
F-35_VC_31 - Missing MASKED indication on TFLIR page- Status: CLOSED - Also added to HUD.
F-35_VC_32 - Missing SLAVED indication on TFLIR page. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_33 - Missing weapon release cues to TFLIR page. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_34 - In some instances the canopy is open when the canopy switch is in the closed position and vice-versa. Status: CLOSED. 10/07.
F-35_VC_35 - Cannot command TFLIR slave to HUD when in HUD is in full screen mode. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_36 - MASKED / NO IMAGE indications missing from TFLIR page when in full screen mode. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_37 - Minor bugs in ICAWS mode for F-35C specific systems. Status: CLOSED. Fixed on 8-11-2015
F-35_VC_38 - TFLIR/DAS mode won't  automatically revert to AUTO when in STOVL mode. Status: CLOSED
F-35_VC_39 - Bug prevents proper usage of PP/TOO option for weapon delivery. Status: CLOSED
F-35_VC_40 - Modify DATA page to show and possibly select current waypoint. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_41 - Minor visibility conditions bug to TFLIR and DAS mode. Status: CLOSED
F-35_VC_42 - Added frequency indications to CNI subportal mode. Status: CLOSED
F-35_VC_43 - Solved miscellaneous bugs for the A/S Radar mode. CLOSED
Flight Model

F35_FM_1 - Revise elevator authority (seems slightly too weak in the latest iteration). Status CLOSED. Slightly increased elevator authority. NOTE: check behavior in P3Dv3. Beta 2 build, 27/09
F35_FM_2 - Revise aileron authority (real aircraft seems more responsive. Evaluate  roll rate increase. Status CLOSED. Slight increase in roll rate in Beta 2 build, 27/09
F35_FM_3 - Revise autopilot logic: current values generate undamped oscillations on ALT HOLD control. Status CLOSED - brought back default autopilot code... may need further work.
F35_FM_4 - Consider adding functionaliy to FCS RESET button. Status: DROPPED - non necessary change, dropped due to lack of time.
F35_FM_5 - Engine performance at high altitude: over 30-35k feet, thrust is insufficient and needs to be revised. Status: OPEN
F35_FM_6 - Aircraft is unbalanced and tends to have a nose-up attitude, requiring trimming. This is unrealistic for a modern FBW. Status: CLOSED. Rebalanced weights and misc improvements to FCS code. 10/07
F35_FM_7 - Request to revise/reduce rudder autorithy when on the ground. Status: CLOSED. Slightly reduced rudder control authority when on the ground.10/07
F35_FM_8 - Fix engine readings and warning signs. Status: CLOSED - Warning signs limits moved to 105 (visual altert) and 106 % (ICAWS)
F35_FM_9 - Real aicraft sits on the ground with more static NLG compression. Status: CLOSED. Fixed animation sequence for F-35A and B, C has a different landing gear.
F35_FM_10 - Fuel quantity of F-35B inaccurate. Status: Closed. Fuel for F-35B is now correct.
F35_FM_11 - Malformed XML code in FCS-Autorudder module. Status: CLOSED. Malformed code removed. 09/10/2015 Beta 2
F35_FM_12 - Check F-35C specific issues: transonic performance and carrier landing behavior. Status: OPEN
F-35_TP_1 - Check weapon station locations, IFR, chaff/flares agains new visual model. Status: CLOSED - position almost identical to previous stations.
F-35_TP_2 - Revalidate multiplayer security Keys. Status: CLOSED - Revalidated all files
F-35_TP_3 - Flir functionality incomplete. Status: CLOSED - Most of TFLIR functionalities are now complete
F-35_TP_4 - Ammo counter fails to report total ammo upon A/C reloading. Status: CLOSED - Fixed bug which prevented proper ammo calculation.
F-35_TP_5 - RWR anomalies detected by users. Consider adding location discretization for more realism. Status: OPEN
F-35_TP_6 - Ownship VRSTP Surrogate sometimes reported as radar track in TSD. Status: CLOSED -> increased rejection radius for surrogate objects. 06/10
Miscellaneous and Others
F35_Misc_1 - Improve configurator graphics and functionality. Status: CLOSED. New configurator is in place.
F35_Misc_2 - Create documentation and/or video tutorials. Status: OPEN
F35_Misc_3 - Include Custom Avatar with HMDS helmet. Status: CLOSED. Avatar ready.
F35_Misc_4 - General XML cleanup. Status: CLOSED. Executed XML cleanup.
F35_Misc_5 - Update thumbnails. Status: OPEN
F35_Misc_6 - Update release date code in MFD. Status: OPEN
Color Key
RED - Major product flaw, fixing this before initial release is a high priority .  
YELLOW - Medium severity issue.
GREEN - Very minor issue, or mitigated to the point it is acceptable by the vast majority of the users.
BLUE - Not an issue per se, but rather a suggestion or opportunity for improvement.
LIGHT GRAY - Issue solved in latest internal build (left for testers' reference)
DROPPED - Decision was to postpone this item to a product update. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

F-35 version 3.0 - Beta Testers wanted

F-35 over Luke AFB (great photorela freeware scenery by Blue Sky)
The Beta testing stage of the new F-35 project will commence in a couple of weeks - and if you are willing to partecipate to the testing, here is how to apply.

Minimum Hardware Requirements:
This F-35 is a high detail model, both graphically and computationally - it will not run properly, or with decent frame rates, on a low end computer. Minimum hardware requirements are as follows:

CPU: Quad Core, 3 GHz minimum
GPU: Nvdia 660 or above, minimum 2Gb dedicated video memory
RAM: 6Gb minimum
Hard disk: Installation should be around 500Mb (but will depend on the number of liveries I will include)

Required Software Platform: This project is strictly dependant on Prepar3D v2.5 (or above) and Tacpack functionalites. They are required for the F-35 to work properly. I may be interested to have one or two testers without Tacpack to check the non-tactical functionalities.

Main software platform: Lockheed Martin Prepar3D v2.5 (updated to latest version - hotfix 4)
Tacpack: updated to latest version (currently


I am looking for testers with various degrees of aeronautical knowledge and realism expectations. Still, all testers are expected to be able to install add-ons autonomously, and have some understanding of P3Dv2 configuration and settings.
Please bear in mind that package is designed to depict the F-35 in a reasonably realistic fashion - so it will be a good thing that you have some knowledge of the F-35 program and features, as well as a decent knowledge of how a jet fighter performs in reality.


- Take your time to test the F-35. If you do not have time, there is no point in joining the Beta.
- Please log a minimum of 3 hours, 10 take-offs and 10 landings on the F-35 before reporting anything.
- Please make sure the issue you are reporting isn't already in the "known issues" list.
- If you find a problem or a malfunction, please make sure you can replicate it and be as detailed as possible
- Issues, problems or malfunctions shall be reported exclusively in the ways I will dictate
- You may be kicked out of the Beta at any time, without notice (sorry for that...but some people really deserve it)
- You do not get any compensation but the fun of testing it
- Please do not post screenshots, reviews or comments on the Beta... just because it is a Beta.
- Maximum number of testers is 10: sorry but I cannot handle more than that

I am sorry to dictate rules... but otherwise the Beta will become an uncontrolled mess. I am sure you will understand.

How to apply

If you have read this post carefully...please read it again. Then if you think you can comply to the requirements and the rules please send an email to as follows:
The email title must be: F-35V3 Beta Testing Application
In the email you must specify your hardware and software configuration, as well as your general knowledge/skill level of aeronautics and simulation - and wether or not you have some knowledge of the real world F-35 project.

Thanks for your help and... good luck for the selection.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

F-35 project update

AL-1 in flight over Cameri... just a few hours after the first flight in real life
F-35B BK-01 - First British aicraft - Britain will buy only the STOVL version (although the F-35C was considered at a certain point)...

WIP picture of the "see through" feature of the HMD. As in real life, pilot can choose to project DAS imagery on the helmet, and have it aligned to the real world... as result, the pilot can look through the cockpit as if aicraft it was transparent. In real life the current HMD are monochromatic green.

Livery for the R.A.A.F. - I have already made at least a livery for each nation who has an aircraft actually flying in real life.

In the past few months I have been posting much more on Facebook than on this blog - it is a faster way to share information and collect feedback very quickly. Still, this blog is still the main reference for my activities - and here is a quick update for the F-35 Lightning II version 3.0.

First and foremost, I am working with an accountant to check the viability of a payware distribution. Sorry for that, but the development costs have been really high (few thousands euros...)... and will be higher if I'll decide to add the F-35C (at the moment, only the F-35A and F-35B are featured).
I still need to figure out the potential revenue, expenses and taxes... if it turns out that the project is at loss...well, I'll release it for free. It will probably be in the 20€ area price range.

The project at the moment is being developed uniquely for Prepar3d V2.5 (and above) and utilizes some of its unique features intensively (e.g. radar visualization service and render-to-texture features). Weapon functionality is provided by Tacpack. I do not rule out a FSX version in future - but, if it will ever be done, I will need to get rid of some of the new features.

The visual model is hopefully a good improvement over the previous version - better, more realistic textures and additional 3D detail. I like the new model much better.
I have made some substantial changes to the flight model, too, and it seems to match the (few) data currently available (there are some clear numbers circulating in official PowerPoint slides about subsonic and transonic acceleration).
The cockpit model is (slightly) more detailed, it has been upgraded to the latest cockpit configuration and features higher resolution textures.
The biggest change is probably in the avionics - the MFD has been vastly rewritten and it should be much closer to the real deal. Still a far cry from the real deal, but probably it is by far the closest thing to the real F-35 a consumer can buy.   
The HMD has been slightly updgraded too, with corrections to the symbology....and the "X-ray vision" feature unique to the F-35 (i.e. the ability for the pilot to look though the aircraft).

All in all I am quite happy with it - although I think I need another month to complete it.
A Beta version may be ready in 3 weeks or so... I will make a post on how to apply for it.