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.