Monday, December 31, 2012

F-35 Freeware version released!

I have changed my plans and released the freeware F-35 before the F-14D... The reason is that the F-14D Beta need more work than I though to make it a more meaningful release, and, well, I am not in the right mood to go through the tedious process of writing the missing code right now.
On the other hand, I've made several minor updates to the F-35, and I prefer to release it now. So here we go. 

  • Minor changes to .air files, less drag at transonic and supersonic speeds (to bring behavior closer to lates official claims)
  • Slightly reduced A/B thrust for B version (as in the real thing, B version has a different nozzle design)
  • Removed MFD and wide cockpit screens, unused by most users
  • Solved autothrottle bug (unable to engage A/T due to missing A/T arm flag in aircraft.cfg)
  • Fixed event firing bug in HMD code
  • Added specific inner bay doors animation to F-35B (inner doors open while hovering to improve lift, as in the real thing)
  • Fixed pilot animations in F-35B model
  • Added miscellaneous external views
  • Fixed pan rate for external views
  • Added custom sound package, courtesy of Serge Luzin
  • Changed hovering mode weight limit to 40600lbs (was 42000) according to the latest official data
  • Removed .exe installer, now manual installation is required

It can be downloaded from the link on the side bar. Will be uploaded to avsim later on. Have fun!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

T-45C Version 2.31 and download links in hindsight

Ok, there is a small bug on version 2.30 which prevented keys 1,2 and 0 from the scratchpad to work properly... this was due to the compiler being configured for the new F-14.
So, I've released version 2.31 which you can download from my Google Drive by clicking on the link in the column aside.
In hindsight, I believe it is a much easier way for me to provide download links, and they are also easier to find for the visitors... so disregard my previous post: I will keep download links on the side column, at least until I change my mind again...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Download links for my projects!

I have decided to consolidate all the download links of the lastest versions of my projects in this post.
This post will be constantly updated with download links to the lastest official releases, although I will continue to release them at both avsim and flightsim.

T-45C GOSHAWK for Flight Simulator X:Acceleration 

The T-45C Goshawk is a heavily modified version of the Bae Hawk single engine jet trainer,adapted to aircraft carrier operation and employed by United States Navy and Marine Corps as intermediate and advanced jet trainer, including carrier qualification mission.
This package contains an detailed external visual model,with self shadowing,bump mapping and hi-res textures, a detailed working virtual cockpit with 3D gauges for both pilot and instructor stations, a reasonably accurate flight model and various repaints including Centennial of Naval Aviation special colors.

  • Visual model, cockpit, flight model, textures...well...almost everything :-) by Dino Cattaneo 
  • Custom HUD (including DEP and GUN mode) by Jivko "Neutrino" Rusev, built upon original HUD code by Scott Printz
  • Custom T-45C Sound package, based on real world audio samples, by Serge "Fsxnavypilot" Lsa.
  • VT-86 repaint by Russel R. Smith.
  • VX-23, VT-21 CoNA, VT-22 CoNA repaints by Jiri Soukup
  • Improved flight dynamics by Tom Falley

Latest official version is 2.30, released on December 18th 2012 and can be downloaded from my Google Docs folder HERE

The file is not yet available anywhere else at the moment.

F-14D TOMCAT for Flight Simulator X: Acceleration

This project is not available for download at the moment, however a Public Beta release of version 2.00 is coming soon (hopefully before Chirstmas)... NOTE: All previous versions will not be supported

F-35 LIGHTNING II for Flight Simulator X: Acceleration and Lockheed Martin Prepar3d

This project is not available for download at the moment, and was previously avaiable only as payware at SimMarket. It will be re-released as freeware in early 2013.

T-45C Version 2.30 being released

I am uploading the latest build of the T-45C Goshawk project for Flight Simulator:Acceleration as I write. File will be available on the public folder of my Google Drive and later on at Flightsim and Avsim as usual.
There are no major changes, just very minor fixes here and there. The main reason why you may want to download this is the new flight model, with a more realistic behaviour, courtesy of Tom Falley. Complete list of changes is here:

- Improved and more realistic flight model, courtesy of Tom Falley. Performance is now much closer to the real aircraft
- Fixed animation bug on instructor seat ARM switch
- Fixed pan rate in instructor view
- Fixed minor modeling and texturing mistakes in pilots models
- Added various external views and fixed pan rate in all of them

Also, I have deleted all the "download" pages on this blog. They will be consolidated in an unique (and permanent) download page where you can find all the latest official releases of my works.
The download link for the T-45C version 2.30 will posted there.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mini-review: Grumman S2F-3 Tracker for FSX (freeware)

When I started this blog, apart from sharing updates on my work, I also wanted to share my impressions and findings about flight simulation, flight games and, from time to time, real aviation.
Now, as you probably know if you read my blog, I am always struggling to find the time to make some significant progress with my projects, not to say play FSX apart from flight testing my own creations. This is a shame because there are lots of wonderful freeware and payware add-ons that are truly worth downloading and spend some time with.

Lately, my favourite diversion from Tomcat test flights has been the Grumman S2F-3 Tracker for FSX (freeware). This is a FSX-native conversion from an FS2004 project by Milton Shupe, conversion done by Eagle Rotorcraft which also added FSX specific features like bump and specular mapping.

Let me spend few words to thank all the people involved in this project and specifically thank Milton Shupe for all the excellent aircrafts he delivered during all this years. I've always been impressed by the quality of his work and I still remember being completely blown away from his most excellent Howard 500 several years ago in FS2004.

The S2F-3 was the first purpose-built, single airframe Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft to enter service with the U.S.Navy, serving from 1952 to 1976 (according to wikipedia). It also served in many air forces and navies around the world including my beloved Italian Air Force, and, after retirement, found a second life in the fire-bombing role.

As for this FSX rendition, the first thing to say is that the outer model is really great: excellent graphic quality with great attention to detail and a very good performance in terms of frame rate.
I am not a "rivet counter", nor an expert on this specific aircraft at all, but to my untrained eye it also seems very accurate in any detail I've examined. Well done.
Sound package is convincing, and although I cannot guarantee on its authenticity, it seems to fit very well to this type of aircraft.
A similar comment can be made on the flight model... I have not checked its performance against the real thing, but it seems believable for an aircraft of this kind and size - and it is fun to fly, which afterall is what matters most IMHO.
It is worth to note that carrier operations with the Tracker will present some specific challenges to people like me, which fly almost uniquely fast jets. Approach speeds are much slower, but so is the aircraft response  to your inputs, and then the flight model has a slight tendency to float. It took a little to me to get used to it: since its controls are not very reactive, especially on the roll-axis, you will not have many chances to correct mistakes during the approach. It requires special attention and it is lots of fun.

The weak point of the package, if I may say so, is the Virtual Cockpit, which is way above the average for a freeware plane, but not quite on par with some payware addons, but that's being really nitpicky since the VC it does its job quite nicely.

So, long story short, if you love naval aviation in FSX as much as I do, the Tracker is a must download. Great piece of freeware.

And by the way, also the Grumman E-1B Tracer, from the same authors, has been recently converted - I have not downloaded it yet...since I am sure it will slow down the development of my Tomcat significantly!

Homepage for the FSX (con)versions of both aicrafts is here:


P.S. Note that, to launch the aircraft from a carrier in Acceleration, you need to manually edit the aicraft.cfg and add this section:

launch_bar_pivot= 14.5, 0, -5.5
launch_bar_lug= 16.0, 0, -7.5

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Projects update

A very quick update on the status of my various FSX projects:

F-35 LIGHTNING II - The product has been withdrawn from sales to be re-released as freeware. I've already made several minor improvements to the package, and I am evaluating further changes. A plausible release date is the first or second week of January.

T-45C GOSHAWK - A further update is in the works, with some minor changes. The biggest improvement will be new flight dynamics, courtesy of Tom Falley, which more realistic and will be closer to the NATOPS spec.

F-14D TOMCAT - The external modeling and pilot cockpit modeling are complete, although the pilot cockpit is not fully functional yet. The RIO cockpit is almost complete, but still needs some work. I'll probably release a public test version before Christmas (possibly without RIO cockpit).

Aside, I'm still tinkering with Eglin AFB scenery....more info soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

F-35 Lightning II - Suggestions for further updates?

As I wrote in the previous post, I have withdrawn the F-35 from sales at SimMarket. It will be re-released as freeware soon.
I'll take the chance of the freeware release to make a further (minor) update...

Specifically, at the moment I have:
- Changed the .air file to reflect the latest public reports and statements from the test team. It appears that the F-35 is not capable of proper supercruising: it requires the A/B to get through the sound barrier, but then can maintain M1.2 for a relevant distance without the use of A/B. Transonic performance will also be better.
- Solved the autothrottle bug...of course it was a trivial mistake in the aircraft.cfg.
- Removed the MFD and "wide" views of the cockpit - which were just an annoyance for most users.

Should you have any suggestion for improvement, please let me know - adding a comment on this post would be teh preferred way.

I am also thinking of a P3D specific version, although I have not tested P3D yet - but it seems a very interesting development of FSX, and this is definitely a good thing for developers.

Monday, November 12, 2012

F-35 Withdrawn from sales

Just a quick note to let you know that the F-35 has been withdrawn from sales. It will be re-released as freeware later on (still TBD), possibly with some minor enhancements (TBD, too).
Please note that, until then, the F-35 is still to be considered payware and copying/sharing is still not legitimate.
In the meantime I am still proceeding with the Tomcat project - at the moment, there is some chance that a publci Beta may be available before Chirstmas.

Monday, November 5, 2012

F-35 Sales Figures in - Will turn to freeware

I've just received sales figure for the F-35 from SimMarket - and I am happy to say that the project exceeded the even point significantly.
As you are aware of, I am not a payware developer and the reason why the F-35 is payware is that it has been a very expensive project to develop.
Let me clarify once again that I have nothing against payware products or making profit from this activity - but I cannot venture into this for several reasons.
I have a full time engineering job, which is both relatively well paid and satisfying - and by the way involves minor design activities for equipment of the real F-35. For one, I do not have the time and I cannot afford that FSX design activity have an impact on my "real life" job.
Also, if my FSX "businness" grows there come accounting laws and taxes obligations I do not have the time to follow.
For these reasons (and others I have explained elsewhere) I have decided that the F-35 will be soon withdrawn from sales and will be re-released as freeware after a period (yet TBD) in which it will not be available.
I hope you understand and still enjoy flying the F-35.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A word on piracy... and freeware.

I have been noticed that the F-35 version 1 is available for free download in several places on the Internet. Most likely, version 2 is available somewhere, Hardly surprising. I just wanted to clarify that the F-35 version 1 has been withdrawn from sales but it is NOT freeware. I know that many companies offer their older projects for free - but this is not the case, mainly because I want to phase-out the older version.
I believe that version 2 (payware and available only at SimMarket) is a much better and more complete rendition of the Lightning II, as it includes all versions (-A, -B and -C) and I encourage everyone who may have downloaded the pirated version to consider the purchase of a leigitimate copy of the F-35, which can be found here:


To be completely honest with you, since I do not do this for living, pirates are not hurting my activity that much. And I will not include passwords, serial numbers or other DRM practices which I always find annoying as user.
This is a hobby for me, and the only reason why the F-35 is payware is that the development costs were incredibly high for an hobby (more than 2.5 thousands Euros - just expenses, that is without considering my time...and then I had many outstanding contributions for free). Asking an "admission ticket" was the only way for me to deliver the project - I could not afford to do otherwise.

My plan was (and still is) as follows: once the F-35 breaks even (which will happen soon) I'd withdraw the it from sales - and then turn it to freeware after some months of gap in which the product will not be available. This is to give some value to users which may buy the package one day and then find that the product they have just purchased became free overnight.

If sales will go on as planned, F-35 will be withdrawn from sales in a month or so - and it will be re-released as freeware in Spring.
I would appreciate your comments on this plan, especially if you have purchased the F-35.

P.S. The new Tomcat is an F-14D Tomcat... so no legitimate Jolly Rogers insignias (my favourite together with the Sundowners) unfortunately....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

F-14D Tomcat WIP - cockpit

Above are two images of the current build of the F-14 cockpit... According to my initial plan, I should be coding the advisory/caution lights and debugging the pilot cockpit - in order to finish it and start Alpha testing... but it is a really boring process, and I am not in the right mood (provided there is a right mood for such tedious activities) - so I started modeling the RIO cockpit ahead of the schedule.
At the moment, modeling of the pilot cockpit is 99% complete - the outstanding items being night textures and advisory & caution lights.
RIO cockpit is 40% done. F-14D experts may have noticed this RIO cockpit is not a "standard" F-14D, since the upper part is missing the GPS unit and the new digital information display. Well, I am modeling this on the pictures provided by Ken - which have been taken on the BuNo.164601 as preserved at Castle Air Museum... I will just fill the voids left by some missing panels but will not change the general layout - so you will have to live with this.
It is not clear to me why this Rio cockpit is configured like this - upper part being the same as the older variants, lower part being like the latest F-14D... may be it was for training purposes, may be the upper part has been replaced before the delivery to the museum... I don't know. Anyway, I'll mirror that configuration so that graphic look is consistent.
Also, I am sorry but the vast majority of the RIO controls will be INOP - both because will have not much use in FSX and because I simply do not have the time and resources to do that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eglin AFB - reprise

Some months ago, my computer experienced an hard disk failure which cause the loss of some FSX-related work-in-progress experiments, including the Eglin AFB scenery I used for my F-35 screenshots. As you may be aware of, the Eglin AFB in Florida, US will be the main training facility in the world for pilots and ground crews of all the F-35 variants.
Now in Italy we have a saying "non tutto il male viene per nuocere" (not all evil comes to harm) meaning that sometimes bad things bring positive outcomes. In this case, I took a break from the F-14D cockpit (I am in the very tedious process of coding the advisory/caution lights...) and I have redone the Eglin AFB scenery from scratch. Now, I am happy to say that the new version is better, both in terms of colors and blending.
It is still a day only, no autogen, no 3D objects scenery - and I've just aligned the runways and got rid of all the airport structures... but looks pretty good in screenshots!
It is a 1m/pixel scenery, with some areas at 50cm/ it is quite a large file - about 5.50Gb. With all these limitations I am not sure if it worth to share it...but if it makes sense, I'll try to do it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

F-35 Version 2.08

Last night I have uploaded to SimMarket an update to the F-35 project - I wish I had the time to make a bigger update including new loadouts, I did not... anyway here it is.
Customers may want to check their SimMarket accounts to see if the download is available, as last time there were issues with the notifications emails.
Contributors and testers should receive an email with complimentary download link soon.

Version 2.08

  • Added 3BSM roll animation, and lift-fan air intake door variable opening angle to F-35B model (as in the real plane the engine nozzle can rotate sideways to help directional control, while the lift fan door opening angle changes depending on airspeed – NOTE: these animations may not work in multiplayer).
  • Fixed minor mistake in Royal Netherlands Air Force repaint
  • Fixe light leakage modeling mistake in -B model
  • Changed registry entry in installation program (should address compatibility issues in some configurations)
  • Fixed F-35B canopy texturing misplacement
  • Added crew boarding model and animation to all models (SHIFT+E then 4 controls the animation – panel opens and crew boarding ladder is deploued, cosmetic-only)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Virtual cockpit progress

Just a quick picture of the new virtual cockpit - to show you what I've done so far... Basically, whaetever you don't see in this picture (except the NACES) is modeled but not textured. I am keeping the polycount relatively low, so that there are enough resources for the RIO cockpit (which I have just sketched at the moment).
HUD is provisional - Jivko Rusev has promised a custom one (thank you JR!) but I have not sent him yet a VC to work on... I will do that soon!
By the way, I wish to thank once again Ken Simmons of the Castle Air Museum which has provided a lot of fantastic pictures of the real cockpits - I am getting a much better texture quality thanks to those pictures.
With current pace, the pilot VC will probably be ready in no less than 3 weeks... and then, the RIO VC may take another 1-2 months...
PS - Disergard the accuracy of the carrier approach... this was just a to take a picture with the carrier in sight.

Monday, September 24, 2012

F-14D Progress - and volunteers recruiting

Work on the new F-14D is slowly proceeding - actually far more slowly that I envisioned, as I am struggling to find the time to work on it, as usual.
The external model should have been finished weeks ago... but I am still adding minor details here and there, so it is not 100% ready yet. Here is the latest version (v2.028).

Now, this project is getting bigger and more detailed every day... so I'd need help. Specifically, for the moment, I'd need:

A SOUND SPECIALIST - The current Tomcat is using a quite good package from Aaron Swindle. I believe it is good, but it is a quite generic sound package for a military jet.
I'd need someone to develop a custom, authentic sound set for the Tomcat. I have no knowledge at all in this field, so I cannot provide any help or support.

A GAUGE/XML SPECIALIST (TBC) - I have plans to add a RIO cockpit (either from the initial release or as an update) but I will not have time to develop its "special" avionics (i.e. the radar functions). I'd need someone to develop custom XML gauges for the radar display in the RIO station.

The project is freeware - so there is no money involved - but if you consider yourself an expert in these fields and are willing to help with this tribute to one of the most amazing aircraft ever, please contact me. I may also need the help of other specialists...but I'll announce that later on.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Albenga Air Show (and a word about Mediafire)

A very poor picture from my cell phone of the "Big Wing" flyover, the last maneuver in the Frecce Tricolori show
Yesterday I attended the "traditional" Albenga Air Show, in which I had the chance to see once again the Frecce Tricolori and their amazing show. I've seen it several times and it never fails to amaze.
If you are an aviation enthusiast, you must see it.
As a whole, the Albenga Air Show 2012 itself was slightly smaller than the previous edition, but there were some spectacular performance from various acrobatic planes, including a Katana T30, a Mudry CAP 10 and Zlin 50. But to me, the most impressive demo was the one of the Piaggio 180 (whose factory is at walking distance from my office), which included barrell rolls (!) and showed an amazing agility for an aircraft of that type. Cool show, and well worth the trip.

In other news, I had several problems with Mediafire - and I will abandon it. First, the virus spreading in through it - which caused many inconveniencies to some users. Second, I had received (obviously fake) copyright infringment claims - which blocked my files.

Now, I am uploading the new T-45C (version 2.25) on Google Drive to see if it is a viable option (apart from Flightsim and Avsim of course).

Ah, yes - whenever I see the Frecce Tricolori I always come back home willing to do a Aermacchi MB339...but then, well, back to reality, for the moment I really do not have the time.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Projects updates....

I have not updated the blog in a while, mainly because my vacations are over and I am back to my "real life" job... which leaves me very little time for my FSX hobby. Also, my apologies if I have not yet replied to all of the emails - sorry for that.
Anyway, here is a brief update on all the projects I am working on.
F-14D Super Tomcat

EXTERNAL MODEL: I still haven't finished the external model....which is like 99% done. Basically I still need to complete some animations and very minor details. It will be ready soon - it is really a question of few hours of work. Here is how it looks now.

VIRTUAL COCKPIT: The main reason why the external model is not yet complete is that I've mostly been working on the virtual cockpit, which in my plans would come after the completion of the external model. The reasons is that I've received a lot of high-resolution cockpit pictures sent by Ken Simmons from the Castle Air Museum which are a fantastic source to bring the cockpit model to a completely new level. I am really happy of the visual quality of the new cockpit, and although it is way too early to show it - I believe it is much better than the previous version.

FLIGHT MODEL: Well, not much to do here... I believe the actual flight model is good enough, but I will go through the NATOPS page by page, looking for major mistakes.
OTHER: I am considering to "hire" some volunteers for this project: I'd need one or two repainters, a sound expert and someone who is willing to create gauges for the RIO avionics - by the way this will be an F-14D(R). I have not taken a final decision on how to do it, but if you consider youself an expert in those area and have some spare time in the next few months, please continue following this blog.

T-45C Goshawk

Yes, I am still working on the T-45C... The thing is that making the F-14D I felt the NACES model was inadequate for the new Tomcat VC and I've improved it. But the T-45C is using the NACES seat too, so I have upgraded the VC with the new seat 3D model - and made some other minor improvements here and there. It should be available soon. Here is how the VC is looking at the moment:
F-35 Lightning II
I am considering a further update which will include new animations (crew boarding ladder and maintenace panels), new loadouts (JSOW most probably) and some minor texturing-bug fixes... Should not take long to complete it... but I have not decided the final features list and as you can see there is a lot of things I am working on...


Saturday, August 25, 2012

F-35 Version 2.05 Release

I have decided to pack all the recent fixes and updates to an official release, which will also limit the need to download files and patches from Mediafire (as it looks that some of its ads/pop-ups could been malicious). Version number is 2.05 and is being uploaded to SimMarket as I write.

Please remember that the installation of version 2.05 will overwrite all aicraft.cfg files - that is will delete the entries of any third party liveries you may have installed. You will need to re-add the entries in the .cfg files as needed.

Version 2.05
  • Added Royal Netherlands Air Force repaint
  • Fixed miscellaneous problems with F-35C model
  • Added paintkit (in the form of an uncompressed .bmp file without any nationality or squadron marking, no layers-sorry). These uncompressed .BMP files are stored in the “Paintkit” subfolder of each aircraft in the “SimObjects/Airplanes” folder of you FSX installation. The .BMPs are stored in .ZIP files to reduce footprint, as we believe most users will not need them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Warning! Possible Virus threat?


Myself, and several users, have checked the files with different antivirus software, and the files look OK. I believe the menace is in some malicious ads or pop-ups which may appear in the Mediafire page when downloading. So, seems there is no fault from my side, but please remember to navigate pages with an antivirus software activated and always check the file you download.

Warning! I have received a second notice from a user that some my files could be potentially be infected by and unidentified virus. The first user reported a virus warning from the paintkit of the F-35, while another was just hit by a virus after downloading some of the F-35 quick fixes. I am not sure if there is actually a virus in my files or if the virus threat resides in a Mediafire ad or pop-up.

I always scan my files with my default antivirus, which is AVG (Free edition) and I have just installed also AVAST as a "second line" protection (Free edition, too) and they both report that my files and my system are free from viruses. 

I also, do not understand how a virus could infect an FSX addon without any .exe file... so I tend to believe that these threats could come from Mediafire...but I am not an expert in this field.

For the moment, I am not taking any actions as I am waiting to know more about this - I just wanted you to know.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

F-14D Tomcat 2.00

Here are two screenshots of the new F-14D - external model still needs more work, especially in the cockpit area and in the animations (by the way, this time I think it is better to control the wing sweep manually with flaps controls...but still TBD).
Do not expect anthing to be ready before late Autumn, anyway, as there is plenty of work to do on the virtual cockpit.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

F-35 Project - Updated to version 2.02 and clean textures for repainters

I have just uploaded a small update to the F-35 project to SimMarket - it should be available in few hours. It is a full install, 126Mb - as far as I understand, previous customers will be notified by email, while new customers will get directly the new installer.
Version 2.02
  • Added clean configuration to F-35C. This was left out from initial release due to poor quality of the modeling, but has been added due to popular request. We apologize for the lower quality of the model, which we do not consider up to part with the rest of the package.
  • Fixed typo in VMFAT-501 texture set
  • Changed landing gear strut textures
  • Added AF-6, BK-1 and CF-1 texture sets
  • Fixed minor bug on -C aircraft configuration that made the JDAM-only model unavailable to the user
Yes, I finally bent to popular will (vox populi, vox dei as the Romans said) and added the much awaited "clean" F-35. I still consider the quality of the mesh very poor, so I though it was better to leave it out of the package and provide it as a separate dowload. Then, I saw that most of the users did not download any of the updates - because probably they never visited this blog. And in the end, you cannot see the modeling defects from most of the angles (basically you see the bad polygons only if you fly upside down)... so I decided to include that in the package.
This update includes all the previous fixes, plus another repaint of the F-35A. Speaking of repaints, here is the link to the repaint "kit". It is not a proper repaint kit as I do not work with layers (yes I am a dinosaur in that respect) so they are basically "clean", uncompressed bmps. I hope they are enough for the repainters to work on it, although, I am not sure that we will see much color on the real F-35... apart from the very first prototypes, all the other schemes are gray only - maybe the radar-absorbing, robot-disposed paint used for the F-35 does not allow much in terms of colors... we'll see. Anyway here it is:

F-35 PAINTKIT (No layers, plain, uncompressed .bmp without nationality or unit markings)

As a note to repainters, I do not plan to do any more repaints - that is all from my side.
That's all for now...and probably for a while: I am in vacation, and, for what concerns my FSX hobby, I am moving full-time on the Tomcat. I hope I will have some great news for the old feline soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

F-35 is available for download at SimMarket

I've been noticed that the installer has an issue and misplaces the files in the FSX folders (it places the model files into the SimObject folder, but they should go into the SimObject/Airplanes subfolder). If you know how to install FSX files manually, you are probably able to fix this.... but I've fixed the bug and an updated installer is being uploaded right now... sorry for the inconvenience!!!!
It looks like the F-35 is already available at SimMarket...and I was the last one to know! Anyway, I had not given to SimMarket formal authorization to proceed - as I wanted to make a couple of changes to the webpage.

For one, calling the project "The Real F-35" is not an idea of mine, and I will ask SimMarket to change it. I believe it is a reasonable simulation - but it is far from being as "real" as other addons.

The product has still some bugs - sorry for that - but I hope that the quality level is acceptable for most users as the price - if my calculations are right, this will be just enough to cover the development costs. Again, this is not a job for me, nor I do not want it to be - still, I hope the F-35 is "professional" enough for most users to enjoy flying it. Have fun!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

F-35 Cleared to taxi and hold short...

Just a quick note to announce that the F-35 is *almost* ready. That is, I have a build that should be good enough for distribution. There are still some bugs here and there, and I was not able to fix all the issues that were highlighted during the Beta tests. Still, I believe the build is good enough, considering the complexity of the project and the fact that, well, I could continue trying to fix minor issues a certain point it is better to stop, provided that the quality level is acceptable.

After a thoughtful consideration the project will be payware - but I believe the price will be definitely acceptable for most users. Final price has not been decided but it will be close to the previous F-35, possibly with discounts for previous customers (if technically feasible).

I am, and will be and I still consider myself, a freeware developer - this is just a hobby for me and I do not want greed to be part of my hobbies... nor I envision this activity will ever replace my real life job, nor I'd like to become a regular businness. But the F-35 project has been extemely expensive by my standards, and, frankly, I'd like to limit my loss (which is in the area of few thousands euros...mostly spent on acquiring the high-definition meshes I've used as starting point in the modeling).

Anyway, it is almost ready. Almost. I still need to complete the manual, pack the files etc. etc.... I believe that will require another week or two. I hope you will have fun with the Lightning II.

Monday, June 11, 2012

F-35 Beta 2 Testing is over

F-35 Beta testing is over - thanks to all the testers, commenters and contributors. I hope you had fun.
In the past few days I have been quite busy and I had not much time for FSX, so the "wip" post has not been updated - rest assured I have read all the comments and inputs.

I have to confess that I am quite happy with the general quality of Beta 2 - sure it was not perfect, but I have not seen any show-stopping issues, and many fixes have already been implemented.

I will dispatch some (optional) change requests to the contributors asap, and I am still looking to complete the release candidate build by the end of June.

Monday, May 28, 2012

F-35 Beta 2 Test WIP - Reporting and open discussion


This is a placeholder post for the Beta 2 testing of the F-35C project - if possible, Beta testers should add their comments to this post so that we can have a unique repository for the CR's.
A draft user manual will be posted here as soon as it will be available (provided it will be ready in the next week or so).

IMPORTANT! Testers, while evaluating the F-35 please consider that:

- F-35A flight model is set so that the weight of 2x2000lbs JDAMs and 2xAIM120s is taken in account. 
- F-35B flight model is set so that the weight of 2x1000lbs JDAMs and 2xAIM120s is taken in account. 
- F-35C flight model is set so that the weight of 6x2000lbs JDAMs, 2xAIM120s and 2xAIM9Xs is taken in account. 
- F-35B: STOVL mode is activated trough the button in the cockpit or through the button assigned to tailhook lever. STOVL mode cannot be engaged above 250kts.
- F-35B: AUTO-HOVER mode is activated either through the MFD (if relevant icon is cyan), or through the autopilot-heading hold function. To engage auto-hover, total weight must be lower than 42000lbs. Dump fuel if necessary.
- F-35B: AUTO-HOVER when in auto hover mode: stick L/R makes the plane translate L/R; rudder L/R makes the plane rotate L/R; stick F/A makes the plane ascend/descend; AILERON TRIM controls the forward/backward speed. If the avionics are tracking a carrier (default, Javier's Nimitz or the Clemenceau) the target speed will be automatically set to the one of the carrier.
- F-35C: launch bar and fold wings controls/graphics are missing. You will have to assign keys to those controls.
- F-35C: due to the payload, the plane is way too heavy to land safely on a carrier - you should dump fuel so that the total weight is below 50000lbs to have a suitable descent rate.

Last update 2012/07/10 h.23:50 CET

BETA WILL CLOSE ON 10th June 2012

1) MICRO-OSCILLATIONS WHILE ON THE GROUND [FM]. On most load conditions, whiel sitting still on the ground, the plane suffers from micro-oscillations which may lead to a heading change. This seems to be due to an FSX contact points instability - In version 1.0 was fixed by changing the gear contact points, but same fix does not work on 2.0, unless severe steering instability is reached. STATUS: OPEN. ACTION TBD - Anyway I am not willing to sacrifice general ground handling to solve this.

2) VC, RADAR/MAP MODE [VC]. Evaluating minor refinements to the interface: +/- click areas on radio frequency controls; open/close doors area correction; full screen radar/map view toogle fix. STATUS: CLOSED. Minor enhancements to radio controls and map modes.

3) HMD superimposed elements [VC]. Evaluate redo of superimposed elements (target designators etc): STATUS: CLOSED. Minor enhancments to HMD symbology. Tried to implement more accurate graphics but did not look that good and were useless in the sim.

4) MISSING C++ Runtime refenece in documentation [MISC] - Reminder for me: add reference (or inclusion) of the "Visual C runtime" in the manual - in its absence STOVL functionalities won't work. STATUS: OPEN

5) sswvtol.dll TYPO [MISC] - I made a typo on the name of the .dll. Sorry for that, my bad.
STATUS: CLOSED. Fixed in the WIP Manual.

6) HMD Projection plane visible under certain conditions - This seems due to DX shader effects under some specific weather and light conditions. STATUS: CLOSED - ACTION: The issue was not solved but was mitigated by creating small round edges at the corners of the projection plane.

7) Request to swap radio and GPS stack. STATUS: CLOSED - ACTION: Done on all models.

8) Request to improve readability of MAP mode. STATUS: CLOSED/MITIGATED. ACTION: Could not find a way to increase font size for readability, but enhanced color contrast and redone terrain colouring (now shaded grayscale, looks much more authentic).



B1) RIGHT/LEFT SIDE OF FCS PAGE DIFFER [VC]. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: copied .xml code changes from MFD1 to MFD2 (forgot to do that).

B2) LIFT FAN DOOR ANGLE  IS SMALLER THAN REAL PLANE [OM]. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: Lift fan door angle increased to 65 degrees. Model tested. - AMENDED ON 05/06

B3) TAILERONS TO MOVE DOWNWARD IN STOVL MODE [OM]. STATUS: CLOSED. ACTION: Changed external model, added animation chain. Tailerons now rotate by 12.5 degrees during STOVL conversion. Note: most videos of the real plane show this, but not all. Also, some videos show that the inner gear bay doors open while in STOVL/hover although I've mostly this in BF-1 test flights and does not seem to be the case in the latest footage. Still, it would be much more difficult to add...




C1) SMS PAGE UPDATE [VC] - Stores Management System should reflect default weapons loadout. STATUS: CLOSED. Default weight changed to 2xJDAMS+2AIM120s+Gunpod.

C2) CABLE FORCE [FM] - Ajust cable force for better dynamics during arrested landings. STATUS:CLOSED. ACTION: fixed aircraft.cfg


C4) UNABLE TO ACCELERATE OVER 600kts. [FM] - Even if the user unloads the plane, the flight model does not allow to exceed approx. 600kts. - This is due to added drag to the FM which was introduced to better simulate the orndance. It may be better to lower the drag coefficient.  STATUS: CLOSED. Fixed with new FM.C5) PROPOSAL TO MOVE VIEW POINT AND CORRECT FM TO HAVE A PERFECT MATCH WITH LM SIMULATOR [FM]. As per JR suggestions it is possible to have an almost perfect match to real F-35 simulator on carrier ops, but changes should be evaluated carefully on the flight envelope. STATUS: CLOSED. Changed as per request.

C6) PROPOSAL TO CHANGE DEFAULT LOADOUT [FM][OM] STATUS: CLOSED. Default weight shall be 2xAIM120s + 2xJDAMS + gunpod, but such visual model shall not be provided (see comments for explaination)
C7) LAUNCH BAR & FOLD WINGS CONTROLS MISSING FROM MFD. [VC] STATUS: OPEN. ACTION:CLOSED. Added code to MFDs although it does not work properly on with "3 views" mode...
C8) TAILHOOK BULGE SHAPE [OM] - Looks different from the real counterpart. STATUS: Improved, not completely fixed but looks better.


[FM] - Flight model (main root cause is the aircraft.cfg or the .air file)
[OM] - Outer model (main root cause is the outer 3d model)
[VC] - Virtual cockpit (main root cause is the 3d model of the virtual cockpit or the associated .XML code)
[MISC] - Any other defect which does not fall in the above categories

Color key:
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 - root cause not identified as of today. Or the problem is beyond my knowledge or impossible or difficult to solve.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

F-35 Beta 2 applications

I am completing the Beta 2 version of the F-35 project. It will include F-35A, B and C versions.
While the three variants are at different stages of development, I believe they are all good enough for testing.
Once ready, Beta 2 will be automatically sent to all contributors, Beta 1 testers and additional recipients I have added in the meantime.
Should you want to apply for the Beta testing, please drop me an email at indiafoxtecho (gmail) com. Please add a F-35ABC Beta in the subject (or anything that will help me sorting them out) and a brief description of your systems and main add-ons...and which kind of simmer you are, if you wish so - keep it short - I just want to better understand your perspective and -in case- suggestions.
Also, let me know if there is a specific version you are interested to test (A, B or C).

Due to my time constraints, I will not accept many testers - it will be impossible for me to collect a large amount of information.
There will not be a particular rule to chose the testers - I will mainly pick different systems/simmer "types" combination...just to have varied feedback. Should you not be picked - well, I am sorry - I just cannot accept more than few testers.
Last, to report bugs, please use ONLY the methods described in the email. Thank you all in advance!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

F-35A, -B and -Cs at Eglin AFB (screenshots)

Above are some images of the F-35A, -B and -C flying nearby Eglin AFB... Unfortunately I do not have much time to work on this project, nor I will for few days... but as you can see, Beta 2 is not far away. Maybe it will take a couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

F-35C shots

In the past few days I did some significant progress with the F-35C... at the moment the external model is 75% done... so I started making some carrier trials - which were OK (although the gear dynamics need some tweaking).

As the real F-35C development is somewhat late compared to the F-35A and B (some of which have already been delivered to Eglin AFB), I have decided to depict the F-35C in the CF-02 (second system development aircraft) livery - specifically with some parts with the typical the greenish primer color showing here and there. Some may not like it... but I think it gives a nice "flight testing" vibe to it. BTW afaik, real F-35C has not been flown with external loads yet... But, as you know, this whole F-35 project has a lot of simplification and a tiny bit of fiction...

Friday, May 4, 2012

A-B-C nearby Fort Worth

Just some pictures while I was preparing the thumbnails for the aircraft selection menu - F-35A, B and C flying over Fort Worth.
There is still some work before Beta 2 is ready - it will only feature -A and -B models.
The -C you see is the results of some "Frankenstein" modeling I am doing. Looks promising - but there is a lot of work to be done (much more than what it may seem judging by the photo).

By the way, I am seriously considering a freeware release. This project, like the previous F-35A, started as payware in order to mitigate the expenses of the professional 3D meshes I acquired to have a better visual fidelity. Now, the size of this project grew way too much for a hobby - and the amount of money involved is now surely relevant for the taxes - so I'd be required by law to face some relatively obscure (to me) burocracy and accounting... which I am not sure I have the time to follow without impacting my "regular" job and spare time. I will have to think about it carefully. The main thing is I do this for fun. And I want to continue doing this for fun. If I will be able to do this without loosing too much money (or even earning some), fine. Otherwise, it's fine all the same. But that is another story - the focus at the moment is deliver a good plane to FSX.