Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Projects Update and Roadmap for Fall/Winter


As I have received a lot of  emails of the "what will be your next plane"/"can you please do [insert favourite aircraft here]" type recently, I think it is time for a quick update on the projects I have been working on, and my roadmap for the next six months or so.

SIAI S-211This is the main project I am working on a the moment - the external model is almost done and I am working on the VC. The flight model is being worked on by Roy Holmes - so I am sure it will be a high quality job. If time and resources will allow, the package *may* include a Aermacchi M-311/M-345 rendition.
This is a payware project - price has not been set yet, but it may be 17.50€ + taxes (if only the S-211 included) up to 25€+taxes (if it turns out to be a full package).
Release date - hopefully - is late November 2017.

Eurofighter and F-35 Lightning II updates
I am still working, from time to time, on updates to both the Eurofighter and F-35 projects. Both will receive a P3Dv4 update sometime in the future - but until VRS releases Tacpack for P3Dv4, their natural habitat is still P3Dv3+Tacpack
As of today this is the status:

EUROFIGHTER - a number of small improvements/bug fixes have been already implemented in my internal build. There a about a dozen points that need to be addressed, some of them coming from real Eurofighter crew, but there are no major issues... expect a product update by the end of September. This *may* be preceded by a test version (in form of a patch) to be released on this blog.

F-35 LIGHTNING II - The loss of source files was a major blow to this project. But I am slowly rebuilding them (at least for the VC). Future updates may include cockpit improvements, new repaints and a better flight model.

Now, these are the potential future projects (meaning I may have already done some work on these, but they are mostly in my mind/dreams)...

T-45C Goshawk PRO version - A programmer from MilViz has kindly offered me a much better, more complete T-45C avionic suite he has made as test bench for their new development process. It is awesome, but I am struggling to find the time to work on it... and then it would be a great chance to make a V3 Goshawk that could include a T-45A too... We'll see.

Aermacchi MB-339
- Other developers are working on a MB-339... it looks good so far, so I *may* decide to quit the development of my version... we'll see.

F-14D Super Tomcat update/remake - I'd love to do this... but the loss of the source files would make me lean towards a full remake - for which I do not have the time.

E-2 / C-2 Package - Another project I'd love to do... we'll see.

T-50A  - This is another trainer I'd love to do... I started planning for this, but then it looked like other developers were doing one, and I put the project on hold. Now it seems that the situation is different and I may want to resume it.

....that is all for now. Feedback is welcome as usual!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Military Avatars Package Freeware Release


NOTE - UPDATED TO VERSION 1.04 TO SOLVE MINOR MISTAKES (YOU MAY WANT TO DOWNLOAD IT AGAIN IF YOU HAVE 1.03).

As promised on my Facebook page, I am re-releasing the Military Avatars Package as freeware. This version features some minor changes with respect of the last payware release, such as the removal of the installer and (most important) the reintroduction of the collision detection for Prepar3d V4 compatibility.
I do not like too much the collision detection as it is buggy and you cannot, in some cases, get really close to the aircraft... but its absence seems to create an issue with P3Dv4, so I have restored it.

For those who might be curious, as developer sales figures is a tightly kept secret, the oveall number of payware copies sold was 161 - which, after distributors' fees and taxes - barely covered the development costs.
As side note, source files for these figures have been lost to ransomware -so this package will not be furtherly updated.

Still, I am seriously considering a new version, with fewer but better models and better animations....although that would be definitely more expensive to make.

Anyway, you can download the latest version from the menu HERE or in the side bar of this blog.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Prepar3D Version 4 compatibility statement...and screenshots ;-) !




First, my apologies for the lack of replies and updates both on the blog and on the facebook page... I do not have much spare time for flight simming lately, but rest assured I read all your message and value your feedback.

Second, here is the a brief recap of the status of my projects for what concerns the compatibility with the upcoming Prepar3D V4 release (I had a quick look at the release candidate over the weekend and, you have a good, modern hardware, I highly recommed).

In general, the compatibility of P3Dv4 with addons native to FSX and P3D is quite high, as long as there are no external C++ modules involved in the aicraft systems. For what concerns my aicrafts, they often use Doug Dawson's fuel dump and sound effects gauges respectively to manage some fuel system functions (such as external fuel tanks loading/unloading, in flight refuel etc.). These gauges are currently not compatible with P3Dv4, hence:

- In-flight refuel will not work. Aicrafts with external fuel tanks will have minor issues (such as enabling to refuel non-existent external tanks).

- Custom sounds such as voice warnings and other sounds (e.g. the SideWinder growl) will not be played.

...apart from that EVERYTHING else seems to work (except the F-35B STOVL...see below), so by and large I'd say my aicrafts are compatible with P3Dv4. I will update my aicrafts if/when updated versions of these modules become available.

Also, at present Tacpack is not compatible with P3DV4 - so none of the aircrafts will have tacpack functionality.

F-35 Lightning II

As per the general notes, no custom sounds and minor issue with the fuel system. The F-35B STOVL function will not work - however, as soon as the new version of FSUIPC.dll is released, it is possible that the function is restored by using the alternate STOVL gauge which relies on it (the gauge is already present in the package as a backup solution and it is commented out).

Aside, P3Dv4 will include an updated version of the F-35A - which includes many of the enhancements of the payware version (and a new livery). Note that the bundled version has NO Tacpack functionality.


Eurofighter Typhoon

Same as above... no voice warnings and issues with the fuel system, but pretty much everything else works.


Military Avatars Package

There is an issue with the contact points, so that the Avatars will appear to be literally "knee-deep" into the runway. A small patch to correct this will be released soon.
Anyway, as you know, this package has been withdrawn from sales - it will be re-released as freeware soon (and the release will include the fix).


Aermacchi MB-326

Works fine - except the "phantom fuel tank" syndrome.
By the way, since some of you asked, YES the porting to AF2 is proceeding (veeeery slowly).


 Boeing T-45C Goshawk

Works fine - no issues at all. :-) !
...and, sooner or later, it might get an update with a new avionic suite by MilViz and AO textures (as soon as I can find the time).


Grumman F-14D Tomcat

Same story - minor issues to the fuel system... but in general works fine!



S-3B Viking

Last but not least... and again minor issues with the fuel system, but in general works fine.
By the way, the AI-Tanker version is almost finished!



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Eurofighter Version 1.08 released


I have just released a new version of the Eurofighter Typhoon to SimMarket, FlightSimStore and PC Aviator. This is basically a "cleanup" release that restores Tacpack Multiplayer Signature and gets rid of some unnecessary avionic code... I also took the chance to add some repaints from the community.
The update will take a little to deploy - you should receive a notification from the distibutor of your choice in a couple of days in the worst case.

2017-05-15
Product update to version 1.08
- Restored Tacpack files signature for multiplayer

- Further tweaks to the control surface animations
- Fixed bug preventing AoA bracket to show while in landing PoF
- Cleanup of avionics code (should solve or at least reduce the "freezing" issue experienced by some users)
- Added "500th Eurofighter Delivered" repaint, courtesy of Rob Skipworth
- Added "Diecimila Ore, 4 Stormo" repaint, courtesy of Tim Brennan
- Added "Tiger" repaint, courtesy of Antonio Diaz
- Added "RAF 41 Sqn Centenary" repaint, courtesy of Rob Skipworth
- A copy of this manual is now stored in the docs folder



Monday, April 24, 2017

Eurofighter Version 1.06 Released!


***IMPORTANT!***
I forgot to "sign" the Tacpack files for multiplayer anti-cheating in the1.05-1.06 update to the Eurofighter... as result, if the server has anti-cheat enabled, you will be kicked out of the session. Please download the signed files (that must go into the main Eurofighter folder) from the side bar, if you want to use the updated Typhoon in multiplayer. Sorry for the inconvenience.

*** EDIT - A SIGNIFICANT BUG HAS BEEN DETECTED IN VERSION 1.05 - WILL BE FIXED IN VERSION 1.06 ***

A rainy Sunday is a good day for some "housekeeping" of my projects... so I have released a small update to the Eurofighter project which hopefully solves some of the problems detected in these first two weeks of deployment. There are still some issues to be solved, but given that my time for the Eurofighter in the next few weeks will be very limited, I decided to release it today.

You should receive an email notification from your distributor of choice that the installer has been updated to version 1.05. This is a full install that will overwrite all the existing files, so if you have installed additional repaints you may want to make a copy of your aircraft.cfg first. Changes are as follows:

2017-04-24
Product updated to version 1.06
- Fixed bug that made the elevon movement to be reversed
- Furtherly reduced excursion of canard motion

2017-04-23
Product updated to version 1.05
- Improvements to flight control animations
- Improvements to flight model stability in certain conditions
- Fixed bug which prevented external fuel tanks from being replenished in the configurator
- Fixed bug which prevented external fuel tanks from being replenished in in-flight refuel under Tacpack
- Fixed bug in TRK autopilot function
- Fixed bug in STA4 pylon visibility condition
- Adjusted position of guided bomb hanging from pylons
- Changed "Ready for Takeoff" condition so that Avionic Master is now set to ON
- Added missing white navigation light
- Fixed several bugs preventing correct frequency-to-channel Tacan conversion
- Fixed bug that made ZOOM IN/ZOOM OUT key functionality to be inverted in LDP controls
- Fixed minor bug in FUEL format

Friday, April 14, 2017

Roadmap for 2017-18 (Spoiler...more trainers!)

So... with the Eurofighter out of the door, it is time for me to think what to do next.
Well, in reality of course I have been planning and making some reseach for my new projects for several months...and here are my current thoughts.

F-35 LIGHTNING II UPDATE

I have been (slowly) rebuilding the source files for the cockpit, in order to create a new, official update to to the F-35 package. The update will be free for existing customers.
It will gather all the changes released through patches on this blog, and will also take advantage of some of the things I have learned and experimented with for the Typhoon (for one, better readability of the MFD and HMD, and improvements to the cockpit interface). I was trying to release this by the end of the month, but I am not sure I can make it. Here is how it looks like right now:


EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON UPDATE

I have also been working to fix the bugs and make some improbements to the Eurofighter package I released 10 days ago. Actually I have already a patch that will fix some of the issues in the current release, but I am waiting another week or so just to make sure that there no other high priority issues arise from the much larger user base (by the way...in 10 days on SimMarket the number of copies of the Typhoon sold has already surpassed the F-35 ones... which tells a lot about the popularity of FSX vs P3D, and of the Typhoon vs the Lightning)... The update will be released as a full installer in a couple of weeks.

SIAI MARCHETTI S-211

This is a small jet trainer, I have been working on for quite a while. After the ransomware attack I wanted a fresh start with a simple project (before deciding to resume the Typhoon) and since a privately owned S.211 is at the local airport I decided to do this. This project looks really good - although I realize that most people don't know this aicraft and may be a little puzzled by the unpopular choice. The extenal model is almost done, while I have dozens of great pictures of the cockpit taken at the local airport - so I believe this may be the best looking cockpit I have done to date (and possibly the most realistic aircraft I have made so far)...


LOCKHEED MARTIN T-50A

I have been seriously considering the T-50A, too. It is totally doable and would look great, and makes a lot of sense as an F-35-trainer... problem is that cockpit documentation is scarce, and there are not good pictures of it (especially for the side panels)


C-2 GREYHOUND / E-2 HAWKEYE PACKAGE

Feasibility for this project looks good but not great...I am postponing it to 2018.


SUPPORT FOR OTHER SIMULATORS

It is no mistery that I am playing with both AeroFly FS2 and X-Plane 11. They both have their own limitations, and, all in all, the FSX/P3D SDK is still way more flexible (at least for the 3D modeling and animation) than these two new platforms.
Still, I am considering to port the MB-326 and the T-45 to both platforms, and eventually the F-35A. But do not expect fully functional VC in neither.

Other projects I have been thinking about (or actually playing with):

T-45C GOSHAWK IMPROVEMENTS - There are some potential improvements which may not require the source files...

F-14 VERSION 3.0 - You really think I was not doing anything on the mighty feline? I am thinkering with improvements and new meshes... but I am not convinced it is the right way to go.

NEW MILITARY AVATARS PACKAGE: new models, with higher resolution meshes and mocap animations... this would look cool, but it is also relatively expensive to make (and sales of the current Avatar package are really low)

S-3 AI TANKER - I'll do it, sooner or later!




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Repaint Templates for Eurofighter Typhoon


As some of you are aware of, the Typhoon paintkit was lost in the ransomware attack I suffered from last year. So, in case you want to repaint the Typhoon, the closest thing I can provide you with is the set of uncompressed templates which are the ones I used to create the liveries.

Each texture is stored in a PSD file which contains the following layers (bottom to top):
- Blank texture with mockup color
- Generic UK texture
- Generic Italian texture
- Generic German texture
- Generic Spanish texture
- A "Mechanical Details" layer which contains the texture for the mechanical parts and details (these should not usually be repainted - exception being the refuel caps which are either dark grey or red).
- An "Usually Not Painted" layer which has all the details that usually do not have paint (e.g.radar radome)
. An Ambient Occlusion layer.

Color reference is as follows:

German Luftwaffe - FS35237 (this has a slight blueish tint to it)
UK Royal Air Force - BS381c-626 (aka Camouflage Grey or "Barley Grey")
Italian Air Force - FS36280 (Approximately - has also been quoted as FS36492)
Spanish Air Force - FS36231
Austrian Air Force - FS36492 (the same as the Spanish Air Force)
Royal Saudi Air Force - Two-tone camouflage - overall BS381c-626 with FS35237 on top

(taken from this very complete post: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/50168-typhoon-reference-information-updated-with-corrected-italian-typhoon-colours/ )

Download link is HERE