Monday, January 30, 2006

Biff Art

Speaks for itself ;)

Friday, January 27, 2006


I now have to advise that there will now be a definite delay in the release of the Biff. I was going to release a beta version of the biff this weekend and finalise it during February. However after noticing negative criticism of others for releasing a product early and finding myself mentioned in a debate at the Aerodrome forums over the Biff's textures I decided to take some extra time on the textures. I was originally going to release the beta with a set of basic textures with full textures following in the final. Given that I find myself involved in a debate on my textures, in an essentially untextured model before it is released, I feel that it is best to be satisfied before I release the Biff even to testers.

This week I have largely been involved in damage modelling and fixing things here and there with various LODS. I work largely with 3DS Max 8.0 and export to Gmax via a script called BFF and then to CFS3. I have fixed a couple of VC modelling glitches and I am in the process of re-assembling the LODS and new damage endcaps in Gmax for export to CFS3. Hopefully this is the last time I have to go through this process as animations have to be created in Gmax rather than Max. There are invariably some materials to be re-initialised and parts to be renamed due to a parsing bug in BFF. I also modelled a 112lb bomb and pylon during the week which I now have to make functional in the game.

Apart from the above and textures, the flight and damage models require much testing and refinement also.

All this has resulted in a few work sessions finishing at 1:00AM which does catch up with one after a few days. The resulting fatigue combined with the setback mentioned in my previous post also contributed to the decision to delay until ready.

I apologise to anyone who is eagerly awaiting the Biff (if there is anyone?) The Biff will be ready when it is ready. Hopefully the delay won't be too long.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Avoiding Burnout - Possible Delay

Many 3D modellers/designers in the world of flight simulation and combat flight simulation, especially freeware end up suffering from what is known as modeller burnout. It has happened to more than a few modellers, and is caused by too many late nights, solving and dealing with too many problems and trying to balance with the requirements of everyday life.

In order to avoid such burnout I will possibly delay the release of the Bristol Fighter. It will most likely be finished by month end [January 2006] but largely untested. I also experienced a few unanticipated problems. This week my 3dS Max LOD100 file corrupted itself losing 2 days work on the file *, bombs had to be modelled and damage endcaps took more time than I expected. I managed to retrieve 1 days work quickly enough by merging from other files. However one day's work was completely lost which means there will be a few bugs that I may have to track down.

I had intended to release as a beta by month end. However after witnessing the negative response to other modellers' releasing their work early I decided to wait until I have run the Bristol past at least a couple of people who know their stuff when it comes to WW1 aircraft.

One never knows - I may complete the Biff without any bugs by Monday. It is not impossible - but it is better to be safe than sorry.

* Normally this would not be a problem as autobak files are saved every ten minutes. However as I had been working on all my other LODS on the same day, the autobaks were of different files. Perils for the unwary.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Info assistance request #2: Sopwith Baby

I will commence the Sopwith Baby next week. I have a good collection of reference material on the Sopwith Baby with the exception of cockpit details, particularly the instrument panel layout. Material showing placement of pumps, Lewis gun mountings would also be of assistance. If anyone can assist with cockpit instrument layout information I would be very grateful.

I can be contacted via the art_guy1 email address in the contact links at the right.

Info request: WW1 Bombs

I wish to create some 3D bombs for my WW1 aircraft. I am looking for scale drawings of 40lb, 65lb, 100lb and 112lb bombs. I do have some photographic references and some non scale drawings but unfortunately no dimensions. If anyone can assist with this information I would be very grateful.

I can be contacted at the contact address in the links to the right.

Still Hoping for Weekend

I still hope to have a beta Bristol F2B released this weekend or at least by Monday. Monday is a public holiday here. [Time Zone: UTC +10] I will not be on-line much until the Bristol is completed.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

One More For The Road

Another screenshot

WIP Rendering - Sunday

As I haven't shown any pics in a while here's a WIP 3DS Max quick rendering of the LOD 100 external model.

The textures are currently WIP. The dirt, rib, shading and squadron markings remain to be created. The ribs in the LOD100 model, shown here, are polygons. However one cannot use polys for detail on other LOD models, thus ribs have to be created using textures. One has to be careful with the LOD90 and LOD70 models in CFS3, as users with with aircraft configuration settings of 2 will see the LOD90 model in external view. Those with aircraft settings on 1 will see the LOD70 model in external view. Thus they have to look almost as good as the LOD100 but with a fraction of the triangle count. Very few people will run with such low aircraft configuration settings on current computers, but one has to cater for the possibility.

In creating ribs with textures they have to be precisely aligned with the polygon ribs and reasonably subtle so as to compliment the polygons yet at the same time work effectively on the LOD models. I'll probably post more on LOD's in the future.

I did experiment using textures created using hi-res versions of the wings. These are shown in a SimHQ forum thread. I did not like the artificial rendered hilight and can achieve satisfactory more subtle effects in Photoshop. I look forward to Flight Simulator X which looks as if it will feature normal mapping.

Biff update

Last week was incredibly busy Biff wise as it nears completion. My current plans are to make a beta version of the CFS3 Bristol F2B available for download next weekend 28/29 January, most likely from the beta section of Sim-Outhouse downloads [provided they are back on line and functioning Ok].

I expect that the flight and damage models and perhaps visual damage modelling will need some refinement. I am also making some 112lb bombs for the Bristol. Seperate visual models for features such as long exhausts will be included in the final release, provided the beta goes Ok, some time in February.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bristol Fighter to remain Freeware.

Further to rescheduling the release date of the Bristol Fighter I would just like to re-assure everyone that it will remain a freeware project as will the Sopwith Snipe and Sopwith Baby.

Hopefully both the Snipe and the Baby will still be released in February.

Any previewed aircraft slated as freeware at time of preview will remain freeware.

I also revised my WIP post below to remove any confusion as to what will be freeware and what will not.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Biff Release re-scheduled

I've tentatively re-scheduled the release of the Bristol F2B until January 28. I've run into a few problems with file corruption on a couple of LOD's and a couple of bugs.

I hope to get the Biff to testers later next week. If I finish it before the 28th it will be released when it is finished. It's best to get things right. I'll be glad when its finished and 3DS Max can have a rest for a couple of days.... and me too.

Edit: My other 2 aircraft will run a little bit late too, but will hopefully be released before the end of February.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Not exactly a Bristol Fighter but a new WIP to preview. Just spent an enjoyable Sunday afternoon making a medium resolution Bentley BR-2 rotary engine. Back to the Biff tomorrow - LOD's galore.

I would like to wish everyone a happy, prosperous and peaceful 2006.