Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish my blog readers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and happy New Year.

Hopefully 2007 will be very productive for me.

2006 has seen me on multiple learning curves ...... completing the Bristol Fighter; doing my own flight modelling and texture art; learning and refining 3D modeling techniques; modeling and animating characters; xml parts animation for FS2004 and now FSX; beta testing FSX and more recently the FSX SDK SP1.

Work on the FSX Bristol Fighter is still ongoing. Despite the SDK there is much to learn in developing for FSX and much trial and error is involved. I spent 4 days last week just tweaking my crew members and getting them to animate to my satisfaction. They shade somewhat differently in sim than they do in 3DS Max and much tweaking and trial and error was required to get them looking right across a variety of lighting conditions. However once things are learned they stay learned and matters should speed up soon.

I had hoped to have the 'Biff' for FSX out by now but alas all this tweaking, Christmas arrangements and job interiews have delayed matters a little. I still have the airfile to adjust once the visual model is complete.

The Sopwith Snipe for FSX/CFS3 is still on the list..... sometime in Q1 2007.

Merry Christmas


Monday, December 11, 2006

Bristol Fighter FSX Update

Here are a few pics of the FSX version of the Bristol Fighter. The crew are complete. The external model and textures have been updated to FSX standard. I have some further work to do on the specular maps.

I have only used a little bit of bump mapping on this occasion. Actually I'm not exactly impressed with bump mapping as at stands at present in FSX. One has to export the bump map from photoshop using the Nvidia plugin and then further convert using the SDK Imagetool utility. Imagetool introduces pixel artifacts on fine parts of the maps thus it is not suitable for fine detail unless one uses large textures. Bump mapping is to be used sparingly for the time being. The results are somewhat course IMHO. Rivets and panel lines are still best acheived using conventional textures. This opinion may change given time and different methodologies.

I still have the VC to fix up and some xml animations to puzzle out and also tedious work in converting the lods over to FSX standard. Once this is released then on to the FS9 version which will also need lod work and the crew added. I'm still hoping pre Christmas for the X version and we'll have to see for the FS2004 version. The poor Snipe has had little work in the last 2 months save for being used to test the FSX SDK tools.

Anyway here are the pics.......

PS almost forgot.... the crew will be included in a future CFS3 Biff update and also one of them will be in the Sopwith Snipe.



Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The dudes revisited

My two ww1 aircrew are just about ready to go into my FSX Bristol F2b 'Biff'. (external model ... not VC). They'll also follow in the external models of FS9 F2B version and one will go in the extrenal model of the Snipe - all versions.

Afternoon update - one more pic.... and a slight addition.... those who know my surname will get it. ;)



Wednesday, November 29, 2006

3D Gauge animations in FSX

As I continue to work on FS9 and FSX (Flight Simulator X) versions of the 'Biff' (Bristol F2B) I have been learning how to create new animated parts using xml code. A few days into this learning process the FSX SDK SP1 was released to beta test and straight onto coding XML animation for FS X.

I have been using the Biff to give the FSX SDK a good workout. The external model FSX version of the Biff is straight conversion of the CFS3 version with FSX materials replacing CFS3 materials and additional animated parts such as animated control wires which one cannot do in CFS3. I'll post more on the material side of things of FSX in a future post.

There is a growing trend, these days, as exemplified by products such as the RealAir Spitfire, to use XML animated 3D instruments instead of the more usual XML or C++ 2D gauges. CFS3 was the first to use this methodology. However CFS3 was limited in that one was limited to gauge animations hard coded into the sim. All one could do in CFS3 was create new artwork and keyframe in 3DS Max/gmax. With FS9 came the ability to create one's own XML animated parts by creating and adding the appropriate xml animation code to, a component of the MakeMDL SDK in FS9 (FS2004). Just about any part for which a variable existed in the sim could be animated if desired.

However FSX has now arrived and with that an all new animation system. The new animation differs in that all animations have to be keyframed in 3DS Max/gmax. There are no hard coded animations in FS X. Animations such as wheels and propellors have to be key frame animated. There are no rotation animations.

Initially I thought the loss of rotation animation codes would be a problem but so far I have found a simple solution for most needle animations and compass animations without resorting to maths and code statements. I have posted some of my findings at the Freeflight Design forums. I had hoped to post here but the Blogspot software messes up my xml tags in a big way.

Airspeed Example used in FS X Bristol F2b
Compass example for a British Mk5 Compass used in Biff - can be used for any similar compass.

The animation creation process will be covered in the SDK when ACES release it. Hopefully that won't be too far away. There are only a handful of beta testers testing this. However we have all been busy.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Very brief update. I am very busy as usual. I have been busy beta testing the FS X SDK beta update these last 10 days or so. I must say I am very pleased. In the field in which I am most interested, aircraft creation, we have much that is new, especially new animation procedures and a new materials system.

There are no hard coded animations and every part that is animated has to be key framed. The plus side of this is that animated parts can have any name. The animations are attached to coded animations, in a modeldef.xml file, via a maxscript animation tool in 3dsMax/gmax. This is very useful for logical ordering of animations. The SDK also contains instructions on how to create and add new animated parts to the modeldef.xml file.

Material properties are now quite complex and require more than a little bit of work to achieve the correct effect. However the results are worth the effort.

To test the SDK I have exported and converted the CFS3 Biff to FS X mdl. The mesh initially exported without any problems. The animations took a few hours to figure out but worked without any problem. I am in the process of creating materials for the Biff. Self shadowing does not require any special modeling techniques that I can see. By using manifold meshes the modeler can improve the quality of shadows however manifold meshes involve large poly counts and would be difficult to achieve in a detailed biplane.

I have also been busy creating xml animated 3D gauges for FS9 and also soon for FSX.

All this has delayed the Sopwith Snipe somewhat, though I have had fun flying the incomplete Snipe in FSX. Don't worry I will resume work on the Snipe as soon as the Biffs are out for FS9/FSX.

Here's a pic of the Biff over Brisbane.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

CFS3 Stuff

Still to come for CFS3..... they haven't been forgotten. Don't know when they'll be complete though.

Sopwith Snipe
Sopwith Baby
BV P212.03
Me P1112
Boulton Paul Defiant.

Maybe...... well a big maybe ............... some more Biff stuff too.... we'll see :)



Bristol F2B for FS9/FSX

While I currently have about 7 open projects for FS/CFS, since last weekend I have been primarily focusing on the Bristol Fighter for FS 9. I was not intending to do a version for FS X until next year. However with the remainder of the FS X SDK shortly being released and the FS9 F2B version being more more complete than I thought, I intend to move the FS X version forward and release both simultaneously, hopefully in a few weeks. The FS X version will be a hybrid of the CFS3 version and FS 2004 version, taking advantage of FS X Materials, animations and greater resolution. Essentially it will be an enhanced version of the FS 2004 external model combined with the CFS3 virtual cockpit.

I am trying to make sense of modeling gauges in 3d, animated by xml code, at the moment. So far I've only got the compass and clock working. WW1 instruments are usually non linear in nature and writing code for them involves a bit of trial and error.

I also have to paint the crew figures then optimise and break apart. In FS X I hope to create skinned animations for them.

Following the FS Biffs all attention will focus on the Snipe. Still hoping for late 2006 for the Snipe.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Team

I've been busy in recent days modeling some crew members for my FS/CFS creations. I am totally new to modeling people or character creation. They're fairly low res with the exception of the goggles which are about 470 triangles. The heads otherwise come in about 900 triangles including helmets.

Initially reduced versions of these will find their way into the external models of the Biff and Snipe in both FS & CFS (Snipe in CFS3 anyway).

The guys in these preview pics have still to be texture mapped. I have created multi sub-object materials and applied them to polygon material IDs. I'm also going to have a go at rigging them for animation. Overall so far it has been a productive learning experience and not bad for a first effort.

I intend to resume work on the FS9 Bristol F2B this coming weekend. This has been placed to one side for a number of months. The FS X gmax SDK is due out this week some time so it will be all hands on deck to get the Snipe out for FS X and CFS3 before christmas. I guess there will be much to learn for FS X. BTW I find FS X immensely satisfying. I have been spending much time flying it. I'll post a bit more in my other blog when time permits. I'd love to do a new Biff for FS X but that depends on time.

cheers for now


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

3DS Max 9 arrived

3DS Max 9 arrived today. It's nice to be among the first to use this new version. I'd like to say yippee, as was the case when Max 8.0 arrived last year - but yippee's are on hold for the time being.

Edit: Actually I was initially disappointed that there was a complete lack of documentation of new features. Previous versions included a new features guide. The new features guide in Max 8.0 was very helpful and I still find it useful a year down the track. There is not even a pdf or help file on the new features with the product and none as yet available on the Autodesk site. Initially Autodesk's web site informed there was no printed documentation for this product however today I was able to order a printed tutorial manual. Light at the end of the tunnel :)

This year's release is a bit light on new features. I guess main concern at the moment is the value of the Autodesk subscription to me. In 2005 subscriber's received a cloth plugin and later a hair/fur plugin and updates in the form of Max 7.5 and of course Max 8.0, was a great upgrade for me. This year the subscription offered the very useful ProBoolean & ProCutter tools and Max 9.0. As I do not have a 64bit processor I have yet to readily to experience any direct benefit for this release. Hopefully that will change as time passes. I won't be upgrading to 64 bit until next year and am sitting on the sidelines to wait and see what happens with Vista.

The problem with the Autodesk subscription system is that Autodesk do not announce ahead of time what will be included in the next year's subscription. It's a bit like a lucky dip.

Additionally most scenes created in Max 8.0 have corrupted meshes when loaded into Max 9.0. Max 9.0 disagrees with some Max 8.0 modifiers. Thus one has to flatten the mesh in Max 8.0 before loading in Max 9.0. Even then I have experienced problems with meshes appearing to load and display correctly in Max 9.0, collapsing when I convert an mesh object to a poly object or place a modifier on the mesh. Existing WIP projects will remain in Max 8.0 for the time being

The other bummer is that all plugins will have to be re-compiled with this release and some publishers such as Cebas indicated that they will charge for doing this. I was one of the last customers to purchase the ACAP TurboToolkit and am waiting to see whether there will be an upgrade. I will still be using Max 8.0 for some time to come.

I have also checked the Max plugins included with the FS X SDK in Max 9.0 and of course they do NOT work. The reason I mention this is I notice people various FS forums talking about moving from gMax to the full product. It's best for anyone contemplating purchasing 3DS Max primarily to develop for FS X, to wait until Microsoft ACES release new, Max 9.0 compatible, plugins before purchasing an expensive product such as 3DS Max 9.0.

Anyway Max 9.0 will hopefully reveal its worth in the coming months.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More on the Me P1112

I'm in the process of mapping the Me P.1112. Here's a Max quickrender which I find very pleasing.

While it was fortunate that WW2 did not last any longer than it actually did it is a great pity that this design did not take to the skys. Whether the intakes would have been totally effective I don't know but this is a beautiful clean aircraft.

That one can create facsimilies of these designs and fly them in a flight simulator is both a fascinating and incredibly satisfying experience. I would like to do more of these projects but at this stage I cannot commit myself beyond those already announced. As mentioned in an earlier post I'm hoping to have the BV P212.03 and this released before Christmas 2006.

PS ...... don't expect the detail of the Snipe :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Messerschmitt Me P.1112

Just showing off some WIP pics of the Messerchmitt Me P.1112 including 3DS Max quick renders and in game shots. Had WW2 continued into this aircraft would have been Germany's primary jet fighter. So far it's about 2 days work and only about 5000 triangles. Interestingly there is little difference in FPS, in CFS3, between this and the Snipe which has 69,000 triangles in the LOD100 mesh.

The external airframe mesh is complete save for undercarraige and wheelwells. Next step is UVW mapping and breaking the model apart to create control surfaces the UC and wheelwells. We'll see what the weekend brings as to further modeling opportunities.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Postscript and a few links to Flight Modeling info.

I have just, somewhat belatedly, come across a post by Winding Man at Sim-Outhouse, where he somewhat belatedly responded to my post of 21st August, relating to the perception of speed at low level in CFS3 and the OFF team's suggested possible solutions at that date. I am not going to enter any debate or retort on any possible issues. I don't really have any issues LOL. I leave it to the reader to read my August post and the relevant threads at Sim-Outhouse and form their own conclusions. I have provided some FS Flight Dynamics links below and I recommend reading Mike Zykowski's paper on Microsoft Flight Simulators which should be compulsory reading for anyone contemplating creating add-ons for FS/CFS including those who like to speed things up ;) I have also just added a postscript to my original blog article - which I stand by - for what it's worth :).

As can be seen by my blog posts throughout the month September my projects are ongoing including the CFS3 Sopwith Snipe.

Since September 2005 it has always been my intention to model and develop for what is now Flight Simulator X. However we are still waiting on a full SDK for that product and FS X is just hitting the stores. I have always been a fan of CFS3 and hope to support it as long as I possibly can. Once we are up and running with the FS X SDK it will be easier to create aircraft for both FS X and CFS3.

However to create aircraft one has to find such activity rewarding and with me that means that hopefully people appreciate what one produces. Some people do :). I note from WM's post that OFF phase 2 remains closed to 3rd party aircraft from the campaign perspective. Given that and my primary FS X focus, whether it's worthwhile producing WW1 aircraft, beyond the Snipe for CFS3 is open to question.... we'll see. I tend to think there will be CFS3 versions of some of my FS WW1 and other aircraft but FS X will be the primary focus and anything for CFS3 will be an afterthought. By then maybe we'll know about the next CFS.... just joking .... LOL.

The Luft '46 aircraft I am currently making are intended as fun aircraft and at this time I do not intend to create serious flight models for them - probably just basic cockpits too. The Boulton & Paul Defiant is intended [hopefully] to have a detailed visual model and cockpit. Hence I am taking my time. Once the visual is complete - and that will most likely be next year - I may try and interest the Aviation History guys in doing a flight model for it if they are still around - when and if I hopefully complete the model :)

As to flight modeling for Microsoft Flight simulators I hope to blog some of my attempts next time around when it comes time to create a flight model. I am in full 3D modeling mode at this point in time. The two activities are not mutually exclusive but I do work more efficiently with FM's when I have the time to give them my full attention. This blog will evolve to become a general development blog for FS and CFS. I will of course post the occasional dev related items in my other blog the Wing Fell Off.

In the meantime here are some useful links on the topic of flight modeling:-
The following forums may also prove useful :-

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Snipe VC mesh completed at long last.

It's been a long haul but all the mesh creation and parts is now finished for the Sopwith Snipe.

I've started UV Mapping and then comes the texture art. It will be a while yet.

I can't say when the Snipe will be released. The CFS3 version will be first. As for FS X there is still no documentation pertinent to aircraft modeling and export in the final product. We have some cool tools for 3DS Max 7/8 and no documentation on how to use them to create fully featured FS X aircraft using the new material and animations systems.

Here are a couple of pics. These will be the last I'll post of the Snipe until it is textured.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Busy week

The last week has been busy from the modeling perspective. Not just one new aircraft started but ... two, and true to my word resisted temptation to work on anything related to WW1. All in all it was good practice. I also created tail surfaces for the Defiant. Now it's back to the Sopwith Snipe which I hope to have completed Oct/Nov sometime. The two jet designs will not be as detailed as my WW1 creations but hopefully will be out by Christmas too... anything else will be a bonus.

PS.... I would say the Defiant would be completed sometime in early 2007. If it looks like being sooner I'll let you know.

Here are a few pics.....

Monday, September 25, 2006

A new Shape...

This week to freshen myself up and to enhance my modeling skills, I've temporarily banned myself from working on WW1 aircraft for the week. The mesh of the Snipe cockpit is complete save for some light fittings and a pump.

This week I've decided to to create a new mesh from scratch, of my very first project, the Blohm und Voss BV P212.03. Here are a couple of pics - I've still to do the vertical tails and blend the wing into the fuselage. So far about 11 hours work.

BTW I hope to do the Defiant's wings and canopy too by Sunday.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

May Auld Aquaintances.......

These are not quite forgotten.... a few meshes I am revisiting. These will hopefully appear in FS X and perhaps CFS3 in the next 12 months.

There are other less complete models. More later :)

In case anyone is wondering.......

.....As can be seen from this week's blog entries, the Sopwith Snipe is definte for CFS3. It was postponed a bit for a variety of reasons.... real life, the FS X beta since May and other model projects such as the Boulton Paul Defiant for CFS3 (which is also ongoing) and other matters mentioned before. I'm not working to a timetable with the Snipe. It will be ready when it's ready. I may shortly again have another assignment in my normal vocation which will reduce time for 3D modelling. I'm making the most of this week while I can.

Again repeating the news that the FS X SDK will allow meshes of the standard which CFS3 currently provides, so even if FS X is my primary modeling target I will still be able to model for CFS3. Thus in most instances there will be a CFS3 version of my aircraft. Check out my other blog

The Snipe will be released first for CFS3. Keep watching this blog.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Watching the grass grow.... more VC work

This week's blog is a bit of a pictorial diary. At least it leeps me on track :) Wednesday's VC work.

Free Image Hosting at

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another day.... a few more parts

Tuesday's WIP in the cockpit ..... a little more since yesterday.

Free Image Hosting at

Monday, September 18, 2006

Detail & more detail

Just a quick WIP pic to show that the Snipe continues - Some cockpit detail.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Snipe in FS X

The following pic' was just a quick test of the FS X exporter for 3DS Max included with FS X beta 3. The mesh is unchanged from the CFS3 version. I will be producing a seperate version of the Snipe for FS X using FS 10 materials. If time permits I will also experiment with a lower res mesh using normal mapping.

The main delaying issue for my FS projects is that I have to create period ww1 crew members suitable for IK skinning in FS X. I'll use non IK crew figures in the external model of both FS and CFS3 WW1 aircraft.

The work on the Snipe, albiet peacemeal, continues, as does the BP Defiant for CFS3. It's too early to show pics of the Defiant as I've only modeled the fuselage and tail, concentrating on getting the shapes correct. Next stop .... wings for the Defiant and more cockpit detail for the Snipe..... and also the elusive WW1 crew figures.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Brief update Sept. 3

I'm still working on the Sopwith Snipe .... now both for FS X and CFS3.

I have been a beta tester for FS X these last few months and Microsoft have lifted their NDA on that product. FS X is still in beta but I would guess it's not long before it goes gold. Anyway the good news is that the restrictions of the FS 9 export tools no longer exist in FS X. The 64k vertex limit is gone as is the .004 vertex resolution. For modelers that means the same basic mesh can be used for CFS3 and FS X .

The FS X SDK as at beta 3, is still incomplete. We'll have to wait for the product to be released to see the entire SDK. Currently there are export tools and scripts for 3DS Max 7, which also work ok in Max 8, but documentation on FS X materials and the new animation system will hopefully follow later.

I would say the CFS3 version of the Snipe may be finished first. I am also experimenting with new Bristol F2b meshes.

Things may slow down a bit with my modeling in the coming months as I am returning ot my normal vocation for a while.

I have posted a few FS X pics in my other Wing Fell Off Blog.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I have been busy with life in general and have been job searching. 3D Aircraft modelling projects are ongoing in my spare time.

Work on the CFS3 Sopwith Snipe continues. Most of the external model is now mapped and I have been planning on how to approach creating the airframe with a completely enclosed mesh and no open edges (manifold mesh) [i.e. if I choose to go ahead with a FS X version of the Snipe.] On open fuselage aircraft this involves use of the 3DS Max 8 shell modifier. At the time of writing not much is known about aircraft creation for FS X but I do notice that aircraft in the demo have opening doors etc. It will be interesting to see how FS X accomodates open edges from the model creation perspective.

I have also been working on a new model of the Bristol Fighter possibly for FS X. As with the Snipe I am hoping to create a manifold mesh - no mean feat with an open biplane. Interestingly the Gennadich Team have previewed pictures of a Fokker Dr-1 cockpit model for its forthcoming WW1 sim, showing self shadowing in the cockpit. I would be interested to know if this was a manifold mesh. I have read that some modern game engines no longer require manifold meshes to support self shadowing.

I have been assuming that FS X would have been improved to the extent that its model export tools would have equaled or surpassed what is currently acheivable in CFS3. At the time of writing this is not known, so it is perhaps best not to assume. If the capabilities and short comings of the export tools and 3D engine in FS X remain similar to FS 2004 then I will have to revise my current modelling plans as it will mean a different modelling approach for FS X to that which I employ for CFS3.

FS X looks very nice and makes use of modern shader technology on its aircraft and scenery objects. FS X also introduces enhanced animation techniques. However under the surface it is based on the existing FS engine. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Biff Walks on Water [in FSX]

Just having some fun in the Flight Simulator X demo released today. It is a preview release demo with a few bugs but on the whole very nice visually with reasonable frame rates too.

Just a few fun shots showing off the water effects and reflections. As to the Biff it's WIP for FS 2004.... can't let T-6's have all the fun water skiing. You can just tell that I'll be making a few seaplanes for FS X. {Note : Provided the dev tools are improved on the FS9 tools].

Sunday, August 06, 2006

WIP update on the Snipe

I've finished the untextured external mesh of the Sopwith Snipe. I still have much work to do in detailing the virtual cockpit and also the LODS - and of course textures and surfacing.

The fuselage decking in front of the cockpit was modelled many times before I was happy with it.

Here are a couple of 3DS Max quickrenders.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Freeware Snipe for FS X too

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I intend to produce a freeware version of the Sopwith Snipe for Flight Simulator X also.

I am hoping that the new export tools for Flight Simulator X will allow higher resolution meshes and the base CFS3 mesh should be easily converted to FS X. The Snipe model is fairly detailed and would require too much work to convert to FS 2004.

I also face the challenging task of completing the external model as one contiguous mesh to enable dynamic self shadowing in FS X. Not too difficult for more modern enclosed aircraft but somewhat challenging for early biplanes or any other open cockpit aircraft.

[EDIT: An FS X version of this Sopwith Snipe depends on FS X and its tools being able to support model meshes of the resolution and standard that CFS3 currently supports. At the time of writing this remains to be seen. If the FS X 3D engine and export tool limitations are similar to those in FS9 then this version of the Snipe will not appear for FS X. I will focus my modelling efforts in other directions but will at least continue to model for CFS3 on a hobby basis.]


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Freeware Models & Projects

I have been planning projects and models for the next two years and have come up with a bit of a roadmap for the next 12-15 months. The projects are a mixture of freeware and payware.

It would not be prudent to announce payware projects until they are reasonably advanced.

My revised freeware tentative schedule is as follows -

Bristol F2B for FS2004 late August/early Sept release.
Bristol F2B revision and paint schemes for CFS3 late August/early Sept release.
Sopwith Snipe CFS3 September release.
Sopwith Baby CFS3 late September/Oct release.
Sopwith Baby FS2004 late September/Oct release.
Boulton Paul Defiant for CFS3 December release.

These are tenative release dates and will change if my personal and employment circumstances change.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A couple of pics

Here are a couple of WIP pics of the FS2004 Biff.

I also posted a few in a thread at Sim-Outhouse

Touching Base - June 29

The bulk of my design activities over the past couple of weeks have mainly focussed on the FS2004 Bristol Fighter. I have an exterior model and virtual cockpit that I am quite satisfied with. There is very little difference in the external mesh of the CFS3 and FS2004 versions. The virtual cockpit required much rework as mentioned in other posts. There are a few things still to tweak.

Currently I am working on the instrument animations. I am creating what are commonly referred to as smooth gauges, in the land of FS2004 designers. Essentially these are gauges that are animated directly in the model in a similar manner to those in CFS3. The difference between CFS3 and FS2004 is that the gauge math is hard coded in the CFS3 engine, a designer only has to create the key frame animations, whereas in FS2004 xml work and some coding is involved, in addition to key frames. This requires an understanding of RPN (reverse Polish notation), a bit of mathematics (arghh!!), and knowledge of variables supported by the FS2004 sim engine. Quite a learning curve.

I have just started modelling a pilot figure which if successful will be used both in FS2004 and CFS3.

I am also in the process of modelling a Boulton and Paul Defiant for CFS3 which I am in the process of starting.

Once I am on top of the Biff's instruments for FS2004, I'll resume work on the Sopwith Snipe for CFS3. It's unlikely that I will release the Snipe for FS9. I hope to create a Snipe for FS X. However that's a different story.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Leap Forward for FS Biff

I've finally managed to export an internal model mesh that I'm reasonably happy with. It will be all hands on deck for the FS Biff in coming days.

Anyway there is much work still ahead for the Biff. I now have to tidy the cockpit up a bit. Rework some textures, uvmap and animate the internal model, and convert the CFS3 LOD's to FS2004. Also I have to animate the instruments. More on that as I go along.

It's nice to know that I can now move ahead. Now for that celebratory glass of fruit juice LOL.


Biff Downloads

Well the Biff has been released for 2 1/2 months now and it's still being downloaded at a healthy rate given that is is a CFS3 WW1 aircraft. - 2412 downloads as at 14 June 2006.

Sim-Outhouse 1134
Simviation 782 321
Avsim 175

That's quite an interesting mix. Sim-Outhouse has the largest CFS community and also hosts the Over Flanders Fields forums and not surprisingly the largest number of downloads of the Biff. Interestingly though the Sim-Outhouse total comprises less than half the total downloaded. Most of the Avsim downloads occurred in the first day of release when it was listed on the front page new additions to the library.

It will be interesting to see how the FS2004 version fairs in comparison.


This week's progress

Work on the Bristol Fighter for FS2004 continues as does the Sopwith Snipe for CFS3.

The FS2004 version of the Bristol Fighter is slow progress indeed. The FS2004 makemdl exporter appears to have a vertex limit of 64k vertices which is currently affecting the interior model. The exterior exports without problem. It's been very much a case of trimming the interior model bit by bit while trying to preserve the sharpness and detail of the CFS3 version. There have been some sacrifices. This problem has been caused by the FS2004 exporter requirement that visible parts of the external model have to be duplicated and added to the interior, thus resulting in a high polycount.

The Snipe continues too, although slowly, as I don't have much time to devote to it at the present time. Yesterday I received the Windsock Datafile on the Snipe which wll enable me to fill in a few gaps in the cockpit detail.

I have been unwinding somewhat and spending time on my other passions...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Some Snipe WIP pics

Here are a few WIP pics in game and 3DS Max. Still a good bit of mesh work to go and no textures apart from instrument faces as yet.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Little by little

Said Jnr. Wells ..... anyway the latest Sopwith Snipe WIP

Friday, June 02, 2006

Snipe for CFS3 and Biff for FS2004 continue

I am still working on these two projects and am putting in approximately 2 or 3 hours a day in 3DS Max - sometimes longer.

I am presently detailing the Snipe cockpit, having recently created a new fuselage.... yet again. I am testing it out in game as I go along. I powered up CFS3 for the first time this week since I released the CFS3 Biff, and I must say CFS3 is wearing well these days. It's a great pity the series has not continued. The shading in the Snipe cockpit [untextured] looks good in CFS3. When I complete the VC cockpit shell I'll show a few pics. At this stage the Sopwith Snipe will be for CFS3 only, though a FS X version may follow next year.

As to the FS2004 Biff, I have had to trim down the virtual cockpit and redo many small cylindrical parts. I still have to redo the scarf ring and lewis gun. Hopefully it won't loose too much in the process.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Catching up

A little bit of an update on where I am at with a few things. I have finished remodelling the fuselage mesh of the Sopwith Snipe so now I can return to the detail. At the moment I am only spending a few hours a week on the Snipe.

The other good news is that the 'Biff' for FS9 will definitely happen. I have been optimising the FS2004 Biff mesh [originally CFS3 mesh] since the weekend and have managed to export to the sim. I have had to redo some small parts especially small cylindrical parts which the FS9 exporter optimises in undesired ways. More optimisation lies ahead as well as construction of a pilot figure.

Further work has also been carried out to the Sopwith Baby and Fokker Dr.I The latter will probably be aimed at FS9. I have also worked on a few other meshes such as the Siemens Schukert DIII and Hansa Brandenburg W.29 I am not quite sure which sim these will end up in. Most likely FS X next year some time.

I will be building a Boulton & Paul Defiant for CFS3 also in the near future. Most likely my last all new aircraft for CFS3.

Of course reading and research consumes a large amount of time.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

A few WIP pics

Here a three WIP pics of the Sopwith Snipe. I am still making parts for the virtual cockpit and don't really want to show too much until it is complete and textured.