Friday, 6 December 2013

New guys and the sprint continues

New Focus

Waaaaaaaaaaaay back at the start of this project we promised a kind of game that was Longbow 2 with trees. Between then and now that goal mutated to the point where it almost forgotten. Word of advice, nail your mission statements to the wall. If you ever loose focus it's there in front of you.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make a gunnery range fun and failing. I can create a set-piece, and ultimately that's all it feels like it is. Other than learning how to operate sensors and weapon systems, as a game it's not thrilling me yet. It's educational to a point but on the whole Farming Simulators have more grab value. We can do interesting things, it's just finding that right approach using what resources we have. A comment was made about how LB2 had real "pucker factor" as you never knew what was on the other-side of a hill. And that pretty much nails where we need to go with Gunnery. As if I'd forgotten. Well....I had. To this end we will add point to point exercises to our existing range map then later we will offer our Herat map populated with static enemy armor and SAMs.

New Guys

The team has expanded thanks to the contributions of Sérgio and Mack. Sérgio takes on the role of webméister and social media guru due to his experience and infectious enthusiasm (not to mention blunt honesty which is welcome reality-check).

Mack is better known for being one of the more awesome contributors in the classic Leadwerks dev scene. He's been reviewing some of my code and offering a shoulder to cry on every-time I hit another engine related brick-wall. Welcome aboard chaps.

Together with Fred, Dave and myself we've got a good crew with drive, honesty and commitment to help get us where we want to be. And even beyond that.

New Stuff Wanted

I've identified a couple of additional model assets we need:

  • SA-10 launch vehicle and clam shell antenna.
  • Hospital Tent

Range script amendments are in progress. More fixes this week.

I've partially re-built the range map using GROME just so I can bake experimental color maps for the Leadwerks terrain base layer. This is an attempt to add variation and color tone. Dave pretty much did an awesome job with the tools at hand and seriously hard to improve upon. Roads have been a major PITA since Leadwerks road objects are a very simple implementation that only work on tiny maps. They rebuild at run-time during a Leadwerks Update() using a script which results in a 90% drop in performance until they are complete. Ideally we want to save these out as meshes instead of re-building them, this is how we currently implement roads, as exported meshes. Very fast and performance friendly. It's a trade-off between speed and aesthetics. The goal is to keep the FPS between 30 and 60 on a middle of the range gaming PC.

Fred is lending his flight dynamics skills to re-factor the flight model code. Hellfires are getting a wep page make-over.

Not so new Screen-Shots

Gratuitous screen-shots shown on Google+ earlier follow:

The CH-47D is back as a prop

Apache spawning points on the base

Hey it's virtual Google Glass. ReadyTime not yet used.

I DoF my hat to you sir!

In need of some re-design work

Fire in the hold! Literally

I got a mug just like that. Maybe you can too in the near future ;)

Till next week....(additional updates may appear here)


  1. Great, great and..........just great! Good to hear Your development team is getting bigger. Pictures maby not so new, but damn nice! That Chinook fire is a little bit depressing. :-)

    1. You always have a nice word to say Pavel. You should be given some sort of honorary blog follower/commentator achievement, if such a thing was possible.

      That was just me getting trigger happy on the base. Need to fix some default FX behaviors. Did I ever show you the exploding cows?

    2. :-D that would be great. Both achievement and exploding cows. :-D

  2. A welcome to the 2 new guys and thanks for the update! Good to see that development is still in progress. :-)

  3. I have a question and maybe You already mentioned it before. How is it with the Apache startup? It seems there are not that many buttons and switches, so, is it quick procedure or is it something like, I dont know, Blackshark or something like that? I mean, do we need starting all weapons, controls and flight systems, nav align etc.....or is it automatic? Thank You.

    1. It's mostly automatic. The difficult part is choosing how you want to configure the ship (if I can use that term). Battery on starts the core systems, then start the APU and wait for most of the system to wake up.

      Rotor brake off (if on), then start the individual engines which is a small and quick procedure. Quite easy. There's also a quick start 'cheat' key.

    2. Weapons are somewhat different. Depending on what you want to arm and which seat is doing it can be a little fiddly. I still get confused (mostly as I keep switching seats which have their own state). For example if the gunner is using the ground FCR and I flip to the pilot seat then my active sensor may be the HMD, and so forth. It works better if you pick one station and stay there.

      There's more ways to confuse matters as you think of the radar cone as forward facing but it rotates. I never completed the widgets on the high-action display (which I will do) so this shouldn't be such a big deal in future.

    3. Nav alignment is automatic too. It picks a bunch of the strongest satellites. All part of startup. You're mostly monitoring the ENG page on startup and setting up your TSD the way you want it while the RPM comes up.

      If there's time I'll add a bore-sight procedure. You'll notice 4 dots around the center cross hairs on the HMD. That's left over from my attempt to add it a while ago. It would be neat to integrate the Apache bore-sight procedure with the TrackIR center function.

      Could make a mandatory thing by adding the annoying "borsight?" text at the bottom of the HAD until you complete the procedure.

    4. Wow...thanks for this complex answer. Great! You know. Im a little bit possessed by the startup procedures of all kinds and going through thousands of MFD pages and switches. I love it. :-D I dont know why. Just love when everything is juicing up. :-) Looking forward to bring this beast to life and Hellfire something to pieces. :-) Thank You.

    5. I promise there are not hundreds of MFD pages. A dozen or so maybe :)

  4. This way, I would like to wish You all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and a lot of understanding from Your wifes, girlfriends, parents or room mates, to let You play, study and develop flight sims. :-)