Well another Albatros update here, and this one will be the last visual preview on the blog most likely, which I'll explain in a minute. I've been jamming fifteen hour days consistently into the plane over the past several weeks and I'm happy to say that all of the gauges are now finished and working perfectly. She's fully IFR capable and great fun to fly in the soup. It actually turned out to be slightly easier than I expected to get a full suite of 3D gauges built, mostly thanks to the rather clever and logical FSX SDK. I still have a fair bit of systems programming work ahead of me but getting the gauges complete and functional (all twenty three of them... per seat) was a major milestone. As with all things on this plane, there's the standard American way to do something, the Russian way, and then there's the Aero Vodochody way, which is almost always clever, elegant, and utterly bizarre at the same time. Just about every instrument on this plane is bespoke to it actually.
Just a note, I hope you're all comfortable with the metric system. The only English/Imperial system gauge is the altimeter. ;)
So why is this the last preview? Well it's because I've gotten just about all of the funky features into the cockpit that I hoped FSX was capable of and I don't feel like tipping my hand to the competition from this point on. I also rather enjoy dropping surprises on people. :)
At the moment I'm working on building the full VC model, which is about 20% complete. Then I just have to texture it (gonna need a few thousand lattes for that part), finish off the systems, get the sound hooked up once it arrives, kill all the inevitable bugs, and write one massive manual for it haha. And yeah it's going to need a massive manual. On the surface there's a great deal left to do but total effort wise I'm well past the halfway mark on this grand adventure, and that's a good feeling.
Anyway here's a shot from the rear seat (minus the gauges) of the very early and nowhere close to finished VC model haha, and one of the seat itself. It'll give you a little hint as to the kind of detail that will be present throughout the cockpit anyway. As I stated at the beginning, performance is my number one goal with this project and happily the VC is where I really get to use everything in my bag of tricks in keeping the framerate up. It's really good fun to build.
I'm still shooting for a wrap up at the end of December, but I don't have high hopes of making that self imposed deadline. It'll more likely be the end of January or early February, but regardless I'll only release it when I'm 100% happy with it. If that takes until June then so be it. Such is a labour of love. :)