Sunday, August 3, 2008

Can I have your thoughts?

Well with the bulk of the external model work done I'll soon be digging into the real meat of building what I hope will be a fantastic airplane for FSX. I'm making the kind of airplane that I really want to fly myself, but I also recognize that my views and opinions are a little, shall we say, 'extreme' when it comes to flight simming. :) So I'm asking for a little help from you from a user's perspective. If you have the time I'd appreciate your input!

Below are a few of the basic questions and decisions I'm facing as I start working on the flight dynamics and avionics etc, and I'm curious for your opinions.

1. Ground handling: The L-39 has a very untraditional steering/braking system. Unlike normal tricycle gear aircraft it has a castoring nose wheel with no direct steering control. Steering is handled through differential braking much like a taildragger but even that is odd as the aircraft does not have dedicated brake pedals. The brakes are actuated through a stick mounted trigger and differential pressure is controlled through the rudder pedals. This makes the L-39 extremely tricky to handle on the ground for the inexperienced. So...

2. Performance: I'm building the L-39 to be as performant as I can but I don't intend to sacrifice quality along the way which means I will have to make some compromises between the two here and there. Ultimately though I'm considering doing a very stripped down extra low polygon external model specifically for formation teams or for those who have mid or low range systems. It won't have a lot of the fun stuff like bump and specular mapping but it should be *extremely* easy on the cpu, hopefully allowing up to 10 Albatroses on screen without murdering the fps. It is however a lot of extra work to create, so...

3. Avionics: I intend to recreate the L-39C's cockpit (front and rear) as accurately as possible but when it comes to the gauges I do have to balance functionality with the prospect of actually getting the airplane finished in this lifetime. :) So...

4. Flight model realism: The L-39 is a relatively vice free airplane by all accounts, except for one little thing: the engine. The standard engine fitted to these aircraft is extremely slow to react to throttle setting changes. The engine takes roughly nine to twelve seconds to reach full power from idle after a throttle slam. As such these planes are largely flown using the 'boards' (airbrakes) for speed control. So once again it's realism vs usability...

And that's it for now, thanks for your time! If my options didn't cover your opinion on something or there's some facet of addon aircraft you think is missing or whatever please let me know in the comments.




Fab208 said...


I found your blog a week or so ago and I've read it all (yes all of it :P ) and I must say, I like what you're doing with the L-39 (amongst other things)

I've put my votes on, but an extra point I'd like to add is this:

Make it realistic for the hardcore Flight Simmers, but also make it easy to fly for the Flight Sim beginners/newbies/part timers etc along the lines of the people who want a bit of fun.

If you can get a good balance, you'll get more people wanting it (including me ;) ) and so getting a better base line of users.

These are my thoughts :)

(Youtube username: Fab208mk2 )

PS: Looking forward to your next film ;)

d0ugi3 said...

If your getting it done for this December only put in the really essential parts. The optional configuration files are a great idea, gives the simmer more choice on how he want's to fly it.

Sundowner said...

If its not realistic I'm not buing ;P

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Thanks guys. The results so far are interesting and not quite what I expected. Cool. :)

Fab208, glad you like the blog and all its nonsense haha. The reason for the poll is that this is one of those airplanes where balancing its realism vs making it easy to fly is extremely difficult if not impossible, hence the poll hehe. From the results so far I'm leaning towards going realistic with an alternate 'easy mode' flight model.

Dougie, I'll get in as much as I can by december, though the plane may slip a little if I really need the extra time to add polish. We'll see.

Sundowner, I concur, I wouldn't either, myself. :)

pebble said...

I vote for realism as a default, but with the inclusion of options for simpler ground handling and faster engine response, for those who want something a bit less stringent. However if I *had* to choose one or the other, I'd take realism.

ProdigyofPoland said...


I like the idea of the poll. I think it would be cool to have it most realistic with then engine and throttle, but good groundhandling would be nice amongst other things.

And.... The release date is December? Why don't you just do what DB did? just release it when you deam (spelling) it ready?

Cheers and nice work!

Fabo said...

As far as I am concerned, make it realistic, it will still be good plane to fly if you fly it more or less properly.

Once again I wish to reminf that I myself, and whole team of Slovak Air Force virtual, which is able to cooperate really closely with rea Slovak Air Force can, and really wish to help you any way we can. Interior pictures, movement shots, manuals, you name it.

You can contact me on my mail - at if you think we can help in any way.