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 I just wanted to clarify that the F-35 version 1 has been withdrawn from sales but it is NOT freeware.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If sales will go on as planned, F-35 will be withdrawn from sales in a month or so - and it will be re-released as freeware in Spring.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.