Sunday, December 6, 2009

A bit off topic...

Just a song I'm smitten with lately. It was featured very briefly in a recent Top Gear episode (during the Lamborghini vs Airship segment), and it's been stuck in my head ever since. I love the playful simplicity of it, and her multitasking skills are impressive.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Cobwebs and Tumbleweeds...

Been a hell of a long time since I posted here it seems, but I have an excuse in the form of an all-consuming project which is called "supporting the L-39". :)

Life the past few months has been quite an education, I'll say that much. Between bug solving, and learning what it is that simmers like and don't like about the Albatros, and fixing and improving it in two full updates, I've been pretty damned busy. It's been fun though. Aside from the CTD bugs in the first week, thankfully quickly sorted, I think the launch went as smoothly as could be expected. Somewhere in the middle of all that I went to Ireland, which was great, but I don't remember much of it, my head is so full of code these days. It was very green, that much I do remember. Oh and everyone drives like maniacs, loved that part.

Today I sent out what I think will be the final update for the 'tros, v1.3, which sort of puts the lid on the whole thing and wraps it up in nice shiny paper. It includes the last of the major user requested features, namely RXP GPS compatibility, and adds some new paints (those are fun to make!) and other stuff.

So that leaves me really, starting tomorrow, with a whole lot of nothing to do! Well, not really. I have a lot to do actually, but at the moment it mostly involves some thick textbooks and learning little things like C++ and Simconnect. Yes, there will be a second plane, at least one is fully planned. What will it be? Not sure I'm ready to make it fully public yet, still have a lot to figure out first, but it has two engines, one seat, it's not American, and it's FAST. :) I got to sit in one on my vacation, and it's quite simply a badass machine, one that demands respect even standing next to it.

I must say that despite the odd bug and hiccup I feel quite gratified to see that my entirely stubborn and inflexible philosophy on aircraft design did actually pan out in the end, specifically that the majority of users are happy with how I built this thing. Framerate performance does matter most and I feel that there's really no excuse for not making a plane shared cockpit compatible (if it has two seats mind you!) because it's just not that hard to do, compared to the other aspects of coding anyway. It just requires thinking in terms of bandwidth consumption a bit more when it comes to variables and how often they are updated. It's actually kind of an enjoyable logic problem sometimes, and the endeavour to maintain shared cockpit functionality comes complete with some mighty humourous results when you get it wrong!

I did ultimately have to eat a bit of humble pie though when I realized that draw calls do actually matter, just not for the reason everyone thinks. It turns out that excessive numbers of them can, even when efficiently structured, stall the PCI-E bus on heavily overclocked systems. Not good! Luckily I've been able to mostly mitigate that problem in the L-39 updates, and know how to avoid that issue entirely for the next project.

Additionally it's also been a ton of fun getting to know some of my customers by flying with them in multiplayer, something I suspect a lot of devs don't do often. They've given me some great insights into their perspective as end users, things I will be keeping in mind for the next project for sure. Our little (ok, long...) celebratory flight from Vancouver to Vodochody is nearly at an end, and it's been a blast to fly along with so many others in L-39s. I get an indescribable satisfaction from each one of those flights, using the results of a year and a half of hard work in exactly the way it was intended to be used. Hopefully there will be more in the months to come.

Anyway, I'm honestly not sure what purpose this blog will serve going into the future from here. I came to the realization on August 3rd, the moment that the L-39 went on sale actually, that I no longer have the right to publicly say whatever I please about the flight simulator industry and those who partake in it. I gave up that right willingly though, something a few other rather vocal members of this community might want to try doing, but really, after experiencing firsthand what it actually takes to see an FSX plane through to completion I have the utmost respect for any developer that chooses to deal with all the ups and down and pitfalls of this career! Some days I'm surprised anyone bothers, but I'm glad they do. :)

So since I have the right to keep my mouth shut I'll mostly be keeping my opinions to myself from here on out... mostly. ;)

Lotus is now staring at a blank screen once again, for the first time in a year and a half. Whew... here we go again!



Sunday, August 23, 2009

I am the Stig?...

According to the first line of what follows... apparently I am, haha.

Avsim just released their review of the L-39, and have awarded the plane their Gold Star of Excellence, woot!

Many thanks to Tom Dilbeck for the excellent writeup. :)

You can read it here:


Sunday, August 9, 2009

What... a... week.

A bit of a different blog post this time, since I have nothing new to show exactly, but much to talk about, hehe. This one is more of a diary about my first week as a payware developer I guess.

The L-39 has been received with much fanfare, certainly much more than I expected. Some of the forum comments and emails I've gotten have been humbling to say the least. I've had comments from people that have been utterly awe inspiring, to the point that I'm printing them out and making a little book of them, for times in the future when I might feel a bit flat or down. The fountain of beautiful repaints coming out is amazing too, and also a bit depressing! I thought I was a pretty decent painter... umm... no! :) But I'm cool with that. It's amazing to see what people have done with the paint kit. Good thing I don't have to change any UV coordinates! I'd get lynched at this point if I did.

The support questions have been INSANE. I really had no idea some of the things that could go wrong with a plane that's been in a constant state of testing for months. Between a couple of people not being able to click anything in the cockpit at all (thankfully sorted with a reinstall of SP2 or Accel) to the strangest crashes in multiplayer which I have NEVER seen before, nor can reproduce yet! It's been an adventure, and I suspect it will be for weeks to come.

Then of course there's the piracy. The rampant, unbelievable, and incredibly hurtful piracy. How people think they are entitled to 15 months of my life, and I do mean MY LIFE (I have done nothing else but work on the L-39) I have no idea.

At some point today I remembered to eat something, probably only because the waitress put butter chicken directly in front of me, a wonderful celebratory dinner out with my friend Eric and my mother. I think I've had perhaps 5 meals total since Monday, and maybe 25 hours of sleep, it has been a busy week.

To the pirates, if you read this or even care, you are doing yourself a great disservice, though you're simply too small to see it coming sadly. If you paid any attention to the ORBX site yesterday, that is where we're going unless you get honest and quick. Really. I'm not kidding. I hope pirates like their ill gotten goods though, and are comfortable with their karmic debt, because it will come back to them. It always does.

To my honest customers though, thank you so much for taking the time to send me the most wonderful comments, something you certainly didn't need to do. I can't tell you how much that support and enthusiasm means to me after such an incredible effort.

And that's about all there is to report. Back to the forum dance.

So far this is one hell of an experience!