Thursday, May 14, 2009

Comms open... and other stuff.

Well, time for another update. First off, I'm opening up this blog to comments again, but, I'm asking anyone who reads it now:

Please do not give me any reason to close them again.

I really don't need any grief, I certainly don't have time for it, and if I see any comments that are even remotely insulting to myself or anyone else I will delete them immediately. If you feel the need to rant on me because you think the plane is taking too long, well, simply go and find something else to do because it just doesn't help, in fact quite the opposite, it's very demoralizing. C'est la vie.

If we can keep things polite and civil I am happy to keep correspondence going here, but if not then I will probably shut them down again, for good.

Anyway, on to better things.

I wasn't originally going to do this paint below, mostly because I'm an anarchist and not particularly fond of 'corporate' anything, but I've put that aside since my respect for this team has grown a lot in recent months. I also don't want to be a stick in the mud in the face of umpteen requests for this scheme, and nor would I wish it on any potential repainter, haha. One of the downsides of my mission to keep performance high on the airplane is that the UV coordinates are designed for speed and the lowest number of texture vertices possible, rather than ease of repainting. Generally the airplane is fairly easy to paint, but lining up the Breitling logo on the bottom of the plane would be a complete bloody nightmare without having the original scene files. Actually it was hard enough with them and I'd probably get real hate mail from the first person that tried to do this paint, so I figured I'd save them the bother. ;)

I'm trying to secure permission from the team to include their schemes in my release package, but if they say no then I'll probably just release them as freeware around the time the plane goes on sale. One way or the other I think they will be available for use. Both the 2008 and 2009 paint jobs are represented. The 2009 is the yellow tailed one.

As for the status of the plane, she's getting close. The paints are done, the code is now very solid, with few remaining bugs and some new fun features added, and all that remains really is a good second pass on the cockpit textures, some optimizations, and the writing of the manual, plus of course sorting out distribution. While that still represents a ton of work, enough that I delayed a trip I had planned in June until October, it feels really good to see the to-do list getting smaller every day rather than bigger.

In other news, if you haven't heard, Avsim sadly had their servers trashed by a hacker. There are few crimes I hate more than senseless vandalism and the turd responsible should simply be killed in my opinion. It's good to see that they're going to come back though, however long that takes. I wish them the best of luck.

They have a temporary forum up and I'm sure donations are welcome now more than ever. There's been a lot of support shown for them, even from competitor sites, which is great to see.

Avsim's Temporary Forum

By the way, here's a truly excellent film of the Breitling Jet Team in action shot by the best aviation filmmaker out there, Lionel Charlet.



Mugar said...

Haha, just like the Aerosoft F-16 and the default F-18, this L-39 is probably going to be *very* popular for the wannabe formation teams only this time it will be possible seeing as it's good on fps (F-16 lacks) and it's easier to fly in formation (from what I hear) and it's realistic (something that the F-18 deeply lacks).
Glad that you made the Breitling jet team paint. Everything looks good, can't wait to get this thing!


Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Haha, cheers Mugar. I've been doing a lot of handling tuning lately, trying to make it as easy to keep formation with as possible, but as always throttle management is going to be the biggest challenge. Having a very consistent and smooth leader will be absolutely crucial for good formations in it. The leader has to decide on a throttle setting and stick to it like glue, or give notice of changes well in advance.

tutmeister said...

Brilliant to see comments re-opened, let's hope the idiots don't spoil it for those who just want to be civil!

It's looking mighty fine and this repaint makes it even more attractive to me, as one of my first military flying instructors used to fly for these guys and he is who taught me aerobatics, so it's kind of nostalgic and awesome all at once! I'm also looking forward to seeing how good the FPS is, now that I have tweaked my FSX to running 40FPS solid upwards. I know you swear by 30FPS, but I'm getting no stutters, so can't complain! :D

Bandito said...

More like: "Shields down, Captain!" Hah.

Every test flight between builds yields a multitude of tweaks and improvements- I can't believe the difference all this fine-tuning has made: and I've been relatively new on the scene as a test pilot.

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Shields down, yes, but photon torpedoes armed. ;) Thanks Dito.

Tut, nice to see you back too. Sorry I had to chop the comments for so long but I just had no overhead left for excess stress and needed to focus on the work.

Very cool that your instructor used to fly for them. They do some of the most beautiful formation manoeuvres of any team out there I think, especially the oblique loop in trail formation.

As for fps, I wouldn't worry, it should be good. Also the Breitling jets will have the single seater cockpits which knocks about a third of the hit off the VC. The 30 fps thing I like just because it's a perfect 1:2 sync with the monitor refresh rate of 60hz. 40 is fine too, just means that every second frame has to be doubled by the monitor. As long as you don't get any stutters though and it seems smooth, that's all that matters.


Doug said...

I am very happy that you chose to do this scheme, just for the plain reason that Breitling are cool, and I will never buy a fake Breitling watch again because they break and look nothing like a real one.... damn Cypriots...anyway nice to see a little update here. Things are always nicer when you don't expect them.

And Lotus, remember, La Vie est Belle

Sundowner said...

Was that really necessary ? Turning off comments I mean ? ;)

Now, seriously if anyone think this one is taking a long time to make - look at the RealAir Duke - awesome add on (though not so much for the fps) and it took an experienced team TWO YEARS to do it. If someone would still moan about the time - do something yourself.

I personally know exactly how hard it is, as I am hitting walls for more than year now - with first project shelved because of not enough reference material - I'm at the second now, still doing the exterior model... no 3ds max experience to speak of doesn't help ;P

BTW did you find a solution for the fps limiting cockpit animations ?

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Hey Sundowner. Oh yes, it was very necessary. :) If no barfights erupt again though I'll be pleased.

I know all about the reference problem. I have somewhere around 2000 L-39 photos on my drive, 400 of which I shot myself, and it's STILL not enough. Good luck with your second project, but I'm sure you'll go back to the first later on.

Not sure what you mean about the fps limiting cockpit animations?

Sundowner said...

I'm referring to the issue that every animated object in VC generate a draw call. You had discussion about that on Torgo 3000 blog some time ago.

I still didn't found out what a "flat animation hierarchy" actually is too... maybe because I didn't got to it yet ;)

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Oh right. Yeah there are ways to mitigate the hit from all those draw calls a bit, but there's no real way around the problem ultimately. Every animated part comes at a cost.

A flat animation hierarchy would be like having your foot, calf, and thigh all connected directly to your torso, rather than in a chain with each other. The flatter the hierarchy the less data fsx has to maintain on the position of each part.

Anonymous said...

Hey lotus, can't wait for you to unleash your aircraft. I recently saw an L-159 on simviation so i'm using it as a substitute while i wait! ;)

xxilim said...

AWesome, i'll be your Australian rep :).
I'm getting quite excited! I've never actually 'wanted' a sim addon like this before haha.
I've already got the complete FTX scenery package to complement it.

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Thanks Xxillim and Anonymous (I always laugh saying that).

Glad you're looking forward to it and I hope it lives up to expectations.

Yup that L-159 is a nice jet, as is the guy who made it.

Soooo much to do, back to work! :)

Vlad said...

That's a nice video in the end. The guy's got some great aviation movies in his past.

Nice Albatross you've got in your hangar.


Anonymous said...

Will their be a paint kit released for the L-39 at all?

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Yes there will be a paint kit, with a couple of paints included so that you can see the layout properly, and a small manual to go with it. Reading that manual will be a must for effective repainting.