Wednesday, April 30, 2008


She's come a long way baby! ;)

The L-39's external model is almost finished now, just need to create the pilots and add a few asymmetrical parts, such as the apu exhaust, vents, and such. Apart from the obvious additions of weapons and a cockpit with finished ejection seats she picked up quite a few other new bits during my recent nights of insomnia. At least something benefits from me living in the twilight zone. :) It now has integral boarding ladders, gas struts for the canopies, air brakes, and even trim tabs, all of which are animated.

And all that in exactly 20,000 polygons. That's less than half the poly count of the Acceleration F-18 and less than a third of the number in the average addon fighter. Hell, it's less than the default Bell Jetranger! :) It's exactly as many polys as the RealAir SF260 Marchetti actually, the least cpu intensive aftermarket plane ever.

Adding the pilots will bring it up another 2k, but this is going to be one very smooth performing plane in multiplayer. You won't have to wince and say a little prayer for your framerate when someone brings one of these, or two, or three, or six, into your session. That's one goal achieved, detail on a budget, now, just a few thousand more hurdles to cross. ;)


-lotus out.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We've got a pulse...

From a blank screen to an actual functioning aircraft in FSX in a little over two weeks, I must be nuts. :)

I'm also quite tired haha.

She's alive and kickin' though, and has working (and quite detailed) undercarriage, ailerons, rudder, elevators and a very rudimentary placeholder flight model. Have a look...

I'll also add that recording my own aircraft with FS-Recorder is a truly bizarre experience hahaha.


-lotus out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On a lighter note (literally)...

I keep forgetting to link this one. In case you missed it, this is absolutely brilliant! One of the funniest and most creative little videos I've ever seen. Gotta love the Kiwis. :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Purist...

So DB (and Pebble) sent me a link to a little video featuring my favourite plane, a trailer for yet another game bearing Tom Clancy's once great and currently totally sold out name, and though visually striking, it got me thinking once again about the topic of realism in aviation media. Just what in the hell is wrong with it anyway? Is it now some kind of disease or something to be avoided? And why exactly do console flying 'sims' exist? It seems like their sole purpose is to give people the hollow illusion of grandeur... and to completely and utterly annoy me.

Have a look:

Okay, overlooking the fact that they got the Rafale's engine nozzles completely wrong, have any of these guys ever BEEN in a plane? Or I dunno, maybe seen one fly at an air show? Here's a couple of inconvenient truths for the makers of this 'trailer trash':

1. Surface to air missiles have a burn time of just a few seconds. The reason pilots fear them so much? You can't see them coming!
2. The 25 - 100lb warhead they carry does NOT create a fireball the size of a city block when detonated. Sorry.
3. You can't see the hud data on the outside of a helmet mounted display.
4. The Rafale doesn't even HAVE a compatible HMD system. That hogwash is currently the domain of the world's ugliest aircraft: Chuckles the Strike Fighter (F-35).
5. If the guys on the ground are in such trouble, why are the pilots walking casually to the plane?
6. Americans, in a Rafale? Hahahaha! Like THAT'S ever going to happen.
7. GBU-12 Paveways don't have rocket motors.
8. He pulls vertical to avoid the missile yet in the next shot it impacts terrain? Are there mountains in the sky in this game?
9. He passes by his target on the MFD before releasing his bomb that's not supposed to have a rocket motor? Ok, so the not-bomb now has to turn around 180 degrees to hit the target? Good luck with that.
10. H.A.W.X. is a really really really stupid name.

I guess this means I can't make fun of Ace Combat 6's stupidity anymore eh, since there's a new bottom to the pile. Oh wait, I can. AC6 can suck it too.

Ok, now this would all be just fine if their written propaganda amounted to something like this: "It has the flight dynamics of a dumptruck and the realism of pong, but it's pretty to look at and you can blow shit up."

But that's not the case of course, their accompanying hype drones on and on about the realism and systems modeling, yadda yadda. Newsflash guys... It's a console and you're flying with a d-pad, so you can just stop with that nonsense. End of story.

Realism is not a dirty word. When used properly it creates this little thing called 'believability'. It also leads to improvements in knowledge and skill. But oh wait, console users, I forgot... They want to LOOK cool, and FEEL cool. They apparently aren't too fussed about actually acquiring the knowledge and skills required in BEING cool.

Oh and lastly, how dare they use a Habu quote at the start of that rubbish.

Grrr. Rant over. Felt good, as always. ;)


Sunday, April 13, 2008

The 'Lump' takes shape...

Remember that somewhat aircraft-ish looking picture in my previous post? Well she's come a fair ways in 4 nights of work. I dare say she's almost looking like an L-39 now. Check it out...

She's currently clocking in at around 4500 polygons. To put that in perspective the default Douglas DC-3 in FSX is around 15000 polygons and it renders *incredibly* quickly. Granted there's no cockpit, pilots (expensive!) or gear wells yet, and all the linkages are missing, but I'm hoping to get the external model done in less than 20k polys if I can. If that's doable and I don't go too nuts with the textures it should pose a very light hit in multiplayer. That's my primary goal anyway. I want this plane to be as suitable for large formation/display team flying as the Marchetti is.

Back to the grind! :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dusting off some very old skills...

Well, I've decided that I've reached the point where I must dive into my only remaining unexplored bay in the great ocean of content that is FSX. I've made scenery, made movies, edited just about every damned thing in FS that can be edited, gone to great lengths to improve the flight modeling and performance of planes made by others, and so... I'm making a plane of my own. :)

This plane: the Czech Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros, the world's most popular jet trainer, in use by some 30 air forces.

As Bilbo Baggins said of his departure for Rivendell, "I've put this off for far too long." ...and I have indeed.

The modeling and texturing are second nature to me, just have to dust off the synaptic connections formed during seven years of game art creation. The gauges however, well, that's going to be a big adventure as I'm starting from pretty much zero there.

Here's where I'm at after the first night of work... (clicky)

Why the L-39? Well, a couple reasons for that. It's a relatively simple plane, mostly steam gauged, it's light and nimble which are traits I enjoy, and lastly no one's made a decent one since FS2002, which is a shame. I'm pretty sure ACES planned to include one in the Accel pack, but they just ran out of time to do it.

And just in case those reasons aren't sufficient: the French rapper MC Solaar flies one, and that makes it bloody well cool by default, haha. :)


And worry not, I haven't abandoned the Rafale vid, not by a long shot, it *will* get done. I am however rather brain fried on several parts of it and need a mental distraction, in this case a monumental one.

-lotus out