Welcome to Part 1 of our Q1 2016 update!
In both parts of this update; we’re going to be focusing on development progress of DCS: F-14A & B.
These two updates will also be the last before we announce or other new projects. Woo!
Before we jump into the Kittykat; let’s briefly return to the Fishbed.
We’ve been splitting our focus between new projects as well as continuously updating the MiG-21.
Below is the major item fixlist from the last couple of months– including a few that are still pending to be released to a public build;
- Corrected ASO-2 Randomly not working
- R-55 & R-3S tone slave correction
- Engine relight system lamp now lights up properly when launching missiles
- Corrected various ASP issues (A2G range indicator, Aiming solutions) – WIP
- Corrected BLC Gate RPM level
- BLC now disengages at 400-420 km/h
- Added joystick bindings for radio channel, radio on/off & radio volume
- Added joystick bindings for NPP Course Set
- Corrected initial position of the KPP
- Corrected keyboard mappings for Afterburner (fix for afterburner not working unless assigned to axis)
- Flight controls now affect hydraulic pressure
- Added CAF/HRZ NATO livery (Thanks Matija Huzjak!)
- Fixed mirrored stencils on wings
- Fixed SPRD activation with button cover closed
- Corrected moving pipper size limits
- Corrected landing gear emergency extension
- Corrected Oil Pressure indications
- Corrected ADI/HSI test discreprancies
- Added Nose cone extension with PO-750A Failure
- Corrected Lock Target getting stuck with Target Lock On button
- Adjusted maximum G Firing limits for R-3S
- Corrected canopy ventilation handle functionality
- Corrected various issues with the Fuel Indicator
- SPS-141 Jammer Pod now works (again! Yay!)
- S-5 Rockets now fire in appropriate order (If 4 launchers installed, only 2 fire at once)
- Corrected brake pressure indicator
- Fixed R55 & R3S tone slaved to radar
- Head Ready and Lauch Authorized lights corrected
- Corrected more instances of inverted radar symbols
- Corrected KPP and NPP knob dependancies
- Added joystick binding to Altimeter Pressure Set
- Corrected animation of Emergency Transmitter Button
We’ll have more information on various open MiG-21 issues, such as backer rewards, in pilot cockpit and other items ASAP.
The MiG-21 Paint kit is now available and can be found at the link below.
Apologies for the long time it’s taken to get this to you all; but we wanted to
make sure the aircraft was final before torpedoing all of your hard work (and for those of you who made it without a kit, sorry anyways!)
The .PSDs are backwards compatible up to Photoshop CS6 (possibly lower, untested!)
Feel free to ask for assistance should you need it.
F-14 Development Update Part I
We’ve just come off the first hard and fast development sprint and crunch on this project– which are (unfortunately for our sanity and health) to become more frequent as we move towards the end of the year and the (drum roll) inevitable release.
The main focus of the art team still lies with projects other than the F-14; thus comparatively little demonstrable progress is found visually.
However, all components of the aircraft simulation itself are beginning to come together and form a more cohesive package.
Primary focuses for the team currently remain with the flight model, associated systems (fuel, engines, controls and more) – but we’ve now also begun building some of the
visual systems for the aircraft. These include the Heads up Display (HUD), Vertical Display Indicator (VDI) and HSD (Horizontal Situation Display).
We’re of course maintaining the same refresh rates and accuracy which the real devices possess. You may find it a bit jarring at first to use the basic F-14 HUD; which updates rather infrequently.
Of course, we’ll be making sure all of these devices also look much closer to their counterparts, both in functionality, size as well as projection characteristics.
They’re still very much work in progress, so don’t mind any misaligned, mis-scaled or in other ways incorrect elements. We are very likely aware of it already.
Worth pointing out is that the cockpit on these images is nothing but a placeholder used to enable our programming staff to execute their work.
Once the cockpit is textured; we then do a full merge together with our codebase.
While these systems are still quite basic; they will begin to shape up in the next couple of months and be expanded to include all of their relevant modes (lots of inter connectivity here!)
We generally keep all of these types of visual systems, even gauges, and implement them at the very end.
The systems and flight modeling functionality that lies beneath it all, are far more complex and time consuming.
Since the last update, we have implemented all of the aerodynamics tables we had previously digitized. We currently use around 60 000 data points in a total of about 80 tables for e.g. aerodynamics and control schedules. This gives us a very dynamic feel to the flight model. The Flight Model is already able to accurately replicate well known characteristics of the F-14 such as wing rock, dutch roll, and flat spins.
Another focus lately has been the advanced implementation of flight control logic like trimming, spoiler control and the AFCS. We currently model the pitch, yaw, and roll SAS systems of the AFCS, with the automatic carrier landing system and other auto pilot modes coming later. The SAS system not only stabilizes the airplane, but also augments, for example, the roll rate, allowing for faster maneuvering.
Last but not least, we have continued the work on the guts behind the simulation; like for instance our dynamics simulation system. Put simply, we’ve basically implemented a simulator within the simulator (inception.wav) that allows us to simulate physics and control logic in real time (for you control theory interested people we use state space systems and transfer functions for a lot of the autopilot and control modes).
We’re glossing over a lot of smaller things that we’ve been working on– (did someone say wing flex? Hello mass-spring-damper systems!) but suffice to say we’re all really excited about now having a flyable, high fidelity flight model in the simulator.
The next major focus area will be further improving the engine model, and we’re currently developing the underlying modeling strategy and data (e.g. various engine maps and logic)
Model Iteration Pass
Our development process is built upon iteration upon iteration; as we consider this to be the best and easiest way to attain accurate and high quality results.
Earlier this year; we began the final revision pass on the F-14 interior and exterior models. Most of the focus ended up on the exterior; which was plagued with various inaccuracies and inconsistencies which needed to be solved.
Some of these still remain; but we’re now much closer to a final model, that can be unwrapped and textured.
One of the biggest items on our list, was rebuilding the entire wing from the ground up; re-doing all of the linkages, hydraulics and control surfaces inside of the wing as well.
All of the animations have also been redone and appropriately linked with their assigned hydraulic systems.
In the future, we’ll also use bones to appropriately bend the sealant panels on the top and undersides of the wing root, as well as dynamically inflate and deflate the wing sealant bag.
Most of the fuselage and various other parts have been adjusted, the biggest changes have happened in the front fuselage section, including the entire canopy and crew compartment, as well as the vertical stabilizers.
The aircraft is now far more accurate – but there are several issues that need to be cleaned up (you can see the skewed fuselage hatches, for example)
We’ve also begun rigging and animating our pilot models for the F-14.
Of course we try to maintain parity in our rigs to be able to quickly transpose animations between all the pilots we create, be it for the Viggen, F-14 or Pacific aircraft in development.
The images below show the low polygon pilot without applied normalmaps, thus the flat look.
Forrestal Class Carrier
A couple of weeks ago we began development of a Forrestal Class carrier to go with the F-14. We don’t have any plans for this to be a payware module; and thus hope to include it either in the base simulator or bundled with the F-14 package itself.
We’re aiming for a roughly mid 80s Forrestal Class carrier.
We don’t currently plan on going into too much detail below deck, including the hangar deck; but that is subject to change.
Minimum carrier functionality and integration into the carrier operations of DCS itself is of course, a given!
It’s still early days (a few weeks in, after all), but enjoy some renders below.
We have a number of techniques in mind to maximize texture and model fidelity while ensuring excellent performance; but as always– we build our artwork to be downsized, rather than the other way around.
We’ve also begun in creating all the required props, crew and other assets required for a full carrier complement.
The deck crew will of course wear appropriate equipment and colours for their assigned role.
We hope to add a library of animations to our deck crew as well; to keep the flight deck lively and interesting.
We’d like to thank all of you who contributed photos and research to help us build this storied class of carriers. Many thanks!
That’s all for this part of the update!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the second part coming up sometime during next week.
And as always, thanks for your support, patience and excitement!
Leatherneck Simulations Team