Sunday, May 17, 2020

How to have Tacpack weapons to show without Tacpak

One of the most frequently asked question I receive is: "I do not have Tacpack and I do not plan to buy it… can I get the weapons to show all the same in your planes?"

Them this question usually gets even more frequent when we have a P3D update (which ALWAYS breaks the compatibility with Tacpack)

Well… the answer is YES, you can - ALTHOUGH, OF COURSE, WEAPONS WILL NOT BE OPERATIONAL. I sometimes put that information on the documentation or on Facebook… or written as a note in the aircraft.cfg, but I thought it would be better to explain the general case so that you can hava a method that will work for (almost) every Tacpack aircraft.

The first thing is to tell you the way Tacpack works in terms of weapon attachment.
In the folder of each Tacpack aircraft there is a text file called "tacpack.ini" which contains, along with other information, the list of allowable stores for each station and links the store to a specific load station of your aircraft.cfg.

When a weapon is loaded in Tacpack, a specific weight is applied to the station. Then it is the aircraft model which visualizes the weapon depending on the weight. So, the WEAPONS ARE PART OF THE AIRCRAFT MODEL. They are just hidden and they become visible when a specific weight is applied - this is done either with logic only in the aircraft model or though a proxy variable (triggered by a piece of code somewhere else).

The developer can associate an arbitrary weight to each weapon and to each station. This can either be a "token" weight or the proper weight of the weapon.
So, unless there is additional code somewhere else, in general, by applying the right way to the right load station you can have the weapon to show.

Let's take the my Eurofighter as an example:

1) Go to the main folder of the aicraft and locate the TACPACK.INI file and open it with Notepad.

2) Scroll down to the following section:


Store_Station.0 means this is the first load station managed by Tacpack. This MAY NOT be the first station in your list (you can read what is the fust by looking a the StoresFirst parameter in the .ini file  - in this case it is StoresFirst=1 which means the second load station in the list, as the first is zero).

So for the the Typhoon, Store_Station.0 is the second store station in the aircraft.cfg (marked with STA1).

Then… just look at the numbers in red. 188 is the weight associated to AIM-9X, 194 is the weight associated to IRIS-T and so on.
So if you put 194 lbs on STA 1 in the game (you can do this in the VEHICLE -> FUEL and PAYLOAD Menu) you will make the AIM-132 to appear.

The stores starting with "PYLON" are just inhert for Tacpack. They may represent weapon pylons, unsupported weapons or other kind of equipment.

Let's move to Store_Station.1 (which is STA2 in the game...remember, they start from 0).


Note that here we have the AGM-65E listed...but it is not used in the plane. This is because the Brimstone missiles are actually simulated with an AGM-65E as the Brimstone is not supported.
Note also that the weight associated to the A-A missiles are much higher! This is because they take in account that, on the Eurofighter, you also need to attach a pylon and an adapter for this stations.
Hance, to show the AIM-132 we should put 596 lbs on STATION 2.

One last example is STA 3.


Here we can see that AGM-154C is used as replacement of the Storm Shadow and the FPU-11 is used for the external tanks. Let's use the external 731 lbs on STA 3.

….and so on. You will see that there are stations allocated for the GUN and the TFLIR system (which the code uses as PIRATE or LITENING depending on the case) and there are "dummy" stations for multiple racks (like the Brimstone).

So, let's try this to get the configuration in the picture at the beginning of the post:

STA1 - 194lbs -> AIM-132

STA2 - 596lbs -> AIM-132

STA3 - 731lbs -> FUEL TANK

STA4 - 960lbs -> GBU-12

STA5 - 408lbs -> METEOR

STA6 - 408lbs -> METEOR

STA7 - 440lbs -> LITENING POD

STA8 - 408lbs -> METEOR

STA9 - 408lbs -> METEOR

STA10 - 960lbs -> GBU-12

STA11 - 731lbs -> FUEL TANK

STA12 - 596lbs -> AIM-132

STA13 - 194lbs -> AIM-132

The configuration is saved along with your flight, so if you save the scenario you do not need to change it again next time you load it.
Also, you can enter these weights in the aircraft.cfg and they will become the default for that aircraft.

This procedure will work with my F-35, Eurofighter, F-14 and S-3 Aircrafts….and presumably other aicrafts too.
It is not needed by the Skyhawk and the M-346 as they use proxy variables which make the loads to appear even if not weight is applied to a station.