Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snipe Skins

Here are some preview images of the Sopwith Snipe for FSX. Currently I have five variations, though whether all five make it into the download or as an extra texture pack depends on the size of the zip.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Seasons Greetings!

I'd just like to wish all my readers and those who've downloaded the Biff a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2009. Take care and enjoy the holidays. May you have many enjoyable hours with your favourite simulations and games.

PS - don't neglect important things such as families.... and .....hey a bit of exercise and life away from a computer is good too. Guess what my new year's resolution is LOL?

BTW 2008 Is closing off with a great many addons for FSX. (Check out your favourite forum for news). I hope you've managed to treat yourself to at least one of them.

Cheers and Best Wishes

Robert Bruce.

Snipe coming along

As I'm now on the road to recovery I've resumed working on the Snipe. I'd say the generic base texture on the external model is almost finished. Just got to sit on it for a few days to make sure I'm happy. I hope to have a flight model ready for others to test within the next week. I'm going to experiment with ways of instrument lighting and also look at implementing a simple gravity tank system. I'd like ot tackle sound also... a big unknown for me.

Anyway it looks as if soon will be soon.... barring accidents.



Monday, December 15, 2008

Home From Hospital

Just a quick post to say that I am now home from hospital. I still have a period of recovery ahead during which I can't place any weight on the wound for more than a few minutes. That means I can't sit upright for any length of time. I can stand and walk ok. I still don't have the verdict on the success of the surgery or likely prognosis. Updates will be posted on my cancer blog.

Many thanks to those who offered their best wishes.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Snipe Progress........

I had hoped to have the Sopwith Snipe finished before surgery which is now scheduled for next week but illness caused by the after affects of radiation therapy combined with infection I've only had a small amount time to work on it. Model wise I've got to animate the steerable tail skid and add a couple of control wires and animate the pilot who's originally from the Biff and set up for that. The F2B Mk.1 had the throttle on the right while most other British aircraft including the Snipe have the throttle on the left and thus have to reanimate the pilot's arms which are boned. I also have to tidy up the intermediate model of the Bentley engine, consider doing a couple of LODs for MP, create some individual skins, work on the flight model and I would like to create a sound set. I also have to decide on cockpit lighting.

I was banging my head with the flight model as I could not obtain the correct airspeed then I realised the published data for the Snipe's performance was based in true air speed (TAS) rather than indicated air speed (IAS), which the ASI is on the Snipe. A quick search and check at The Aerodrome forums verified that published data on most WW1 aircraft performance was TAS. Thus the sim performance of the Snipe is pretty close after all. :)

I was considering rushing out a preview version of the Snipe as is, without a custom sound set and perhaps just one skin, but given the short time until surgery and all the organising I have to do I won't have the time. There's a slight possibility that surgery may be delayed to check out cardiac matters but I wouln't count on it.

So if I don't post again by Monday 17 November I'll probably be out of action for a few weeks at least.



Monday, October 20, 2008

Trials & Tribulations of Sarcoma & 3D Modeling

I have had to take an enforced break from any modeling actvities this last week due to the ravages of sarcoma and its treatment combined with infection.

However all is not bad. I managed to get a few hours work on the Snipe yesterday, and to say I am pleased with progress is an understatement. The exterior model is coming along nicely and I'm very pleased with the cockpit. I have decided to create an additional new texture map for the external model cockpit which will add a bit of time to the project as it will also involve a bit of remapping.

At times I find it hard to believe that this is my own creation. I hope others find it as much a pleasure to fly as I do. The only question is whether I'll have it finished before I have surgery which will be sometime in the next three weeks. I can tackle a few hours every other day at the moment. The poor old Fokkers will have to take a wee bit of a back seat for now..... this damn sarcoma!!! :( boo.... hiss.... etc. etc.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Diary of a Fokker Part 1: Decisions & Preparation

I was hoping to blog the progress on the Fokker D.VII as I work on it. Anyway first up one has to make a number of design decisions.

I am only a couple of days work into the project. Day 1 was mainly refreshing and reviewing my earlier research and reference material of which I have a great deal.

Day 2 was mainly spent scanning drawings and measuring them in Photoshop. For reference in 3DS Max I usually map reference drawings to the sides of a box, created to the dimensions of the aircraft. One has to be careful with published dimensions and I usually check and compare amongst a number of references before modeling. One thing I did learn early with WW1 aircraft is that one cannot just accept the published height of the aircraft. Frequently the mapped side view drawing had slightly oval tires when using published height dimensions. When it comes to the aircraft profile I usually measure from the highest point on the profile drawing, usually the top of the propellor, to the bottom of the tire. I measure length, height and wingspan in pixels and use proportional arithmetic to calculate the height in meters using published dimensions for span and length. I then create a box in 3DS Max using these dimensions. I convert the box to a mesh, invert the normals and then explode the mesh. Mapping the drawing is then relatively easy.

Fokker D.VII view box

As to decisions - the goal is to create a museum quality 3D model, as detailed as possible while still offering reasonable perf in FSX. The first decision is easy - target platform FSX. I am not planning on modeling the Fokker D.VII for any other flight simulations at this stage. I have no interest in FS2004 at this stage, CFS3 has OFF and Rise of Flight already has a very nice Fokker D.VII in the base package. The Fokker D.VII was built by 3 different companies, Fokker, Albatros and Albatros subsidiary OAW. This introduces visual variations, mainly in cowling and finish. The Fokker D.VII could also be powered by a number of different engines, Mercedes DIIIa 170 h.p., DIIIau 180 h.p. or BMW.IIIa 185 h.p. There are visual difference between the 3 engines. Additionally design changes, changes on the louvres, changes in exhaust type etc, were ongoing throughout the war.

Initial decisions made are to model at least one different model from each manufacturer and also at least one BMW IIIa model. Consideration will be made during construction as to cowling exhaust variations. Thus there will be at least 4 different visual models.

How detailed will we go? As the goal is to create a museum quality model it is intended to at least equal the detail inherint the Sopwith Snipe, only tighter and more accurate employing the experience gained in creating the Snipe and the earlier Bristol Fighter F.2B. This means every screw, bolt, nut, clamp, fitting that is visible in the cockpit, will be modeled. Expect highly detailed Spandau guns. I have a few experiments in mind, along the way so detail will be taken further. Externally I have yet to make a decision on how detailed I will model the engine or how much I will make visible. Tentatively I would like to have removable engine cowlings and panels.

I will start the model from the inside and model outwards. I have already started modeling the tube frame. At this stage I do not plan to model the interior structure of the wings, but will allow for that at a later date if I create a model for rendering also.

Other decisions - well heaps more has to be decided. At this stage whether it will be payware is not known. Hopefully it will be but that depends on how things go.

One other decision just made... revival of the Fokker D.VIII. This will be approached in the same way as the Fokker D.VII and use some of the same parts.... however at this stage the D.VIII will comprise of one visual model, probably FSX only (unless also for ROF?). The FSX version of the D.VIII is probably going to be freeware.

Now back to the Sopwith Snipe.



Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fokker D.VII next on the production line

With having cancer in the form of sarcoma it's difficult making long term plans, however I can still model albiet in a stop/start and, at times, a haphazard manner.

At long last I've decided that the Fokker D.VII will be the next serious project for FSX, on completion of the Snipe. It's an aircraft I have started a couple of times before only to later scrap. And it's a good thing too as my modeling skills have improved greatly over the last 3 years along with much experience. Indeed the Fokker D.VII is second only to the Biff as a WW1 topic I am very fond of (mind you I've a whole list of favourites).

Basically the decisions were between WW1 or later aircraft such as the Bristol Bulldog, Hawker Fury/Nimrod, Curtiss P6E, Boeing F4-B/P-12, and if WW1, whether to adopt a themed approach i.e. moving from 1916 through to the end of the war or model aircraft that I like in any old order. I decided on the latter approach as these will probably be low cost payware for FSX. I've spent a small fortune on reference material over the last few years and it would be nice to recoup some of that.

I still hope to squeeze a freeware Sopwith Baby in there, sometime during the next 12 months. As the Baby's cockpit would be partly an artist's interpretation it's only fair that it should be freeware.

Next on the list are 3 Junkers early metal monoplanes, then looking into my crystal ball I can also see a member of the Albatros D series and a Sopwith Camel. I'd love to cover the SE5a too but that's been covered by a few others including Alphasim. Which Albatros ? .... that's a tough call .... I might group them in packs. Anyway these are very tentative and we'll see how I go. At least by posting these thoughts publicly they stand a chance of being followed through. I intend to stick with topics for which I have much reference material, thus the creation process will be much faster.

It's amazing how making a decsion can brighten oneself up.... in the meantime back to the Snipe, hopefully all the loose ends on the external model will be tied up by the weekend.

Happy simming :)



Thursday, October 02, 2008

Cockpit almost there.....

Just three pics of the cockpit. I have a few days break then resume work the exterior next week. From now on the cockpit is mainly tweaking and fixing. Notice the lamp wires....? :)



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Snipe WIP Pics - Sept 2008 #1

Hi reader(s) :) LOL - I'm having a bit of respite from radiation therapy and have manged to complete a bit more work on the Snipe i.e. the placards etc. I'm happy with the results. It's now more or less refining the cockpit textures and materials. The exterior model is fairly generic at the moment - I have a few bits and pieces to complete such as the tail skid bungy, and making the skid steerable and also have a few details such as the external cockpit and things such as filler caps to complete visually. I'm a bit behind where I would like to be, as the pain from the sarcoma was very severe for a while. It's now more manageable. Rock on!!!



Thursday, August 07, 2008

Some Snipe Cockpit WIP Pics

I just thought I'd post the latest WIP pics of the Sopwith Snipe cockpit. I'm at the detail, dirt and specular stage of the cockpit now. These pics are all in simulator shots in FSX in DX10 mode. Hopefully the visuals will be complete soon. Yes that word again.... soon lol. I'd like to have the Snipe finished visually by the 21 August.... we'll see. After that sound and flight modeling. Hopefully the Snipe will be released by mid October.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Biff Stats

It's been a long time since I checked the download statistics of the various versions of my Bristol F2B. There are 3 versions - FSX, FS2004 and CFS3. The Flight Simulator versions are further broken down into 4 packages each. I was a bit surprised at the download numbers and their break up. Anyway as at 14 July 2008 ........

FSX - Base package = 17,224
FSX - Total all FSX packages = 38,292

FS9 - Base package = 3,340
FS9 - Total all FS9 packages = 9,783

CFS3 - total packages = 11,265

Total Base packages = 31,829

Total All downloads = 59,340

I think I can say the Biff has been a success. I'm especially surprised at the high number of downloads of the CFS3 version. Also note the low download numbers of the FS9 version. I don't know if these numbers can be extrapolated into possible payware success of other aircraft.

These download figures come from Sim-Outhouse, Simviation, Avsim & The FSX version was also distributed on PC-Pilot's cover disk and the Russian games magazine Igromania's cover DVD.



Sunday, July 06, 2008

3D gauges and FSX.

Having cut my teeth in modeling for CFS3 I am a staunch believer in 3D gauges. Indeed I do not anticipate creating 2D gauges until I come to HUDS, MFD's, GPS etc. For ordinary needle based instruments I find them smoother and simpler to implement with little or no impact on performance (fps), especially for WW1 & WW2 fighters. The Sopwith Snipe uses 3D gauges as did the Biff. My other planned projects will use 3d gauges if they ever see the light of day.

Unfortunately cancer is a bit of a wildcard in my life presently, throwing a spanner in the works as to my planned projects. The only thing definite is the previously shown Sopwith Snipe, which I hope to complete visually this month, all being well. After that comes the F6F-3 (very much WIP for CFS3/FSX) and a to be decided jet, probably an F-84G, as learning exercises in aircraft of different genres for FSX. These are planned as freeware. I had planned to create payware WW1 aircraft also (and have several in WIP), however my personal circumstances are affecting these plans also.



(EDIT - 20 August 2008: I've reworked the F6F-3, but I'm in no hurry to complete it given personal circumstances and the excellent WIP F6F-3 being created by RealFlight. Any possible WW2 freeware projects are still TBD. The F-84G is still planned - though will be 2009 now as I'll concentrate on WW1 payware if I pull through on the health front after October.)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dusting the Cobwebs

While my personal news last week was not good I'm continuing on with my 3D endeavours. They're therapuetic in themselves. It's going to be difficult to plan ahead at times.

My focus is on finishing the Sopwith Snipe for FSX which is in the middle of texture and material development stage.

I have had 3 weeks away from the Snipe to finish water and terrain mesh for the CFS3 ETO enhancement project. It's completed to the stage that the team can assess its worth with respect to the work involved in correcting the GSL to align with the terrain. Most of the work has been on creating water meshes much of which has to be hand edited. Most of the data in stock CFS3 is out of alignment with the SRTM data by a 100+ meters or so. The team are voting on it and I await their verdict. LOL..... I now know how politicians feel ;) A 'no' verdict will free me up to work on aircraft, though I will be dabbling in CFS3 scenery on a personal level, especially after radio therapy and surgery in the coming months.

The other aircraft I will be resuming is the F6F-3. It was originally intended for a Marianas theatre I was experimenting with for CFS3. It was put aside last year so that I could focus on WW1 aviation and also to accomodate surgery and recovery. It has always been planned to resume serious work on this aircraft in July 2008. The only thing that may change is the initial intended target platform which was CFS3. This may change to FSX as the initial platform target. However it depends on the amount of work involved. I've yet to set up material properties for the F6F-3. We'll see how things go ...... hopefully both platforms, but probably my last CFS3 aircraft even if I do.

EDIT: PS - With the advent of Realflight's F6F-3 and other priorities I've slowed up on work on the revised F6F-3. I hope to eventually complete at least one WW2 freeware aircraft however any decision will be after October 2008 ... maybe much later).



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For the time being........

.......I won't be posting much here. It's a case of here we go again with cancer.

For updates please check Rob's Cancer Journey

Hopefully I'll be back.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Some WIP Pics of the Sopwith Snipe.

Just to show that I'm really working on the revived Snipe again here are a few WIP pics all in FSX in DX10 preview mode. As you can see I've still a fair bit of work to do on the textures and materials. I've ear marked a few parts to change also.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Any Interest in Sopwith Snipe for CFS3?

That's something that I'd like to know, now that I've revived the freeware FSX version. It would take a while more to convert i.e. part names, animations, model structure, LODS, damage model. Those possibly interested can PM me - robby88 - at Sim-Outhouse. I'm not sure if OFF Phase 3 will allow for 3rd party aircraft. Thus I need to know if there's any interest before going to all the trouble of conversion.

The revived FSX Snipe has a little bit of detail polygon work to be carried out. I might add turnbuckles to the exterior model. Mostly though it's texture and material work and also animations. I want to look at cockpit lighting also. There are many things I'd like to experiment with too. After that flight modeling, sound editing etc.... thus maybe a while yet... we'll see.

The new Sopwith Baby will be more reflective of my current modeling standards, though much of the cockpit will be conjectural as there are no photographs, that I know of, of the Baby's cockpit. The Sopwith & rigging manual drawings I have show the position of the main controls, fuel pump, tank and cables. I'll be using my knowledge of other Sopwith aircraft and fittings to complete the detail in the cockpit. I hope to create a Schneider version also. I say hope as I am still not clear on the health front. However I plough on regardless until something happens.



Edit - 9 June 2008 - So far 2 votes LOL - I don't know if that means I'll do it or not, especially as much is happening in my life at the moment.
Edit - 1 July 2008 - We'll see how things go, not much interest by others in the CFS3 version - so FSX only in the interim.
Edit - 20 August 2008 - I hope to start working on porting the FSX Snipe to CFS3 format next month. It will be very much an experiment and may not necessarily result in a CFS3 release.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sopwith Baby it is then

After a night of agonising & loosing much sleep (LoL), hours of reading and a morning of web browsing I decided on the Sopwith Baby. At the end it was a toss-up between the Baby & a DH.2. As I preferred to make a seaplane, the baby won out. A few tentative aircraft fell by the wayside due to lack of information especially engine control & fuel management e.g. the Short 184 and Curtiss HS-2L. Along the way I encountered a number of aircraft I had never considered before...all seaplanes & flying boats.

Now back to 3DS Max and the all new Sopwith Baby. Let's see how long it takes.... :)



Footnote - The new Baby has been placed to one side while I focus on trying to finish the Sopwith Snipe before medical events intervene.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Reshuffling Projects

These last few days I have been working on and reviewing the Sopwith Snipe and also formulating possible future projects. Thus I've withdrawn both the Snipe [now rescinded ..see below] and Fokker D.VIII from my freeware lineup for the time being. These aircraft will be tentatively part of themed WW1 multi-aircraft packs, each focusing on aircraft of particular manufacturers. There is a very nice Fokker D.VIII wip being previewed in the forums at sim-outhouse... which looks as though it will appear for FSX as well as FS2004. I will most likely redo the Snipe from scratch as my modeling skills have greatly improved since first tackling that aircraft almost 3 years ago and I'm generally not happy with aspects of my model. The construction of the Snipe has been interrupted by the Biff, FSX beta testing and more recently cancer and its treatment.

I still intend one freeware WW1 release for FSX by mid year. Whatever I decide it will be all new. The Sopwith Baby model is all new, but I'm leaning towards an aircraft I haven't modeled before and won't fit in with my planned packs. Decisions.....mmmmm? Well off to sift through that pile of Windsock datafiles... ;)



[Edit - It's amazing how taking a break makes one look at things afresh. After spending time in FTX Australia Blue and flying a variety of aircraft I decided that the Snipe holds up well, even against some payware aircraft.... so this edition of the Snipe continues to live and is being worked on at this minute...stay tuned.... and will remain freeware. An all new Snipe at a future date, will hopefully be part of another product.

Rob - 19 May 2008.]

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WW1 Freeware line-up rationalised

Due to delays caused by personal factors, the desire to create aircraft for other eras, and the desire to create payware aircraft I'm reducing my WW1 freeware lineup for 2008 to just the Sopwith Snipe and Fokker D.VIII. I still hope to create a freeware F6F-3 and F-84, mainly as learning experiences before creating payware aircraft of these and later genres.

I may move forward on creating low cost payware WW1 aircraft (for FSX) once I formulate a strategy that I am happy with. Unfortunately health issues are still a bit of a wildcard, however I plan to move forward on the creation of a couple of aircraft, most likely WW1 or pre WW2.



(EDIT - 20 August 2008 : As mentioned in later posts the Fokker D.VIII has, for now, been dropped as a freeware project and replaced by an all new Sopwith Baby, which should appear sometime during 2009).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fokker D.VIII

I've mentioned this aircraft in previous blog posts. Anyway today celebrates my return to aircraft modeling after radiotherapy (I've been busy on CFS3 terrain work for a couple of weeks). Today I refreshed my memory on where I was at with the Fokker D.VIII, created new wheels and refreshed some minor smoothing issues on the prop. Most of the work so far is in the Oberursel and prop - about 2 1/2 days so far - less than 20 hours work including the prop and new Oberusel/Le Rhone.

The current delaying issue is the Spandau which I want to make as detailed as I can, for use in many other aircraft. These days I generally create an aicraft shell and then work from the inside out, hence the lack of struts at the present moment.



PS: As per my earlier posts the Fokker D.VIII is only for FSX at the present moment. I'm not sure whether OFF Phase 3 for CFS3 will allow third party aircraft. If it does, and I receive enough requests I may consider a CFS3 version. If I did it may take a while for the CFS3 version to appear.

EDIT - August 20, 2008. As mentioned in subsequent posts the Fokker D.VIII is tentatively pla nned for a possible future payware release for FSX.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Month's break

I've been having a bit of a break from modeling this past month. After radio therapy in February and a computer upgrade I've been finding it difficult to get back into modeling in 3DS Max. I suspect there may be further interruptions coming up on the health front. :(

I have spent a bit of time flying in FSX these last 4 weeks especially with some great recent releases such as FTX AuBlue, the RealAir Spitfire and a few other aircraft.

I have also been playing around with the CFS3 scenery SDK and CFS3, testing the boundaries and finding the bugs in CFS3 and it's terrain engine. I have a preliminary Eastern Front theatre mapped out and being tested before further developing. Whew!! talk about an ordeal.... the CFS3 SDK documentation is lacking to say the least. The only way to check it out is by endless testing and flying. I have found one possible major bug in CFS3 which will probably prevent any theatres which straddle the meridian W7°, such as Spain, parts of the British Isles and the Faroe Islands. The problem appears to be hard coded into CFS3 :( I'll investigate further.

Anyway I'll post more on this on my CFS3 scenery blog, now re-named CFS3 Worlds.

Hopefully I can resume modeling soon.



EDIT: Stop Press - I successfully managed to resolve the issue with meridian 7°W on the Spain mesh. So the prospects of a Spanish theatre and a Scotland Norway theatre look good. There still appears to be a bug in CFS3 which causes theatres larger than 1835km to crash in the NE corner of the map.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Off-Line for a couple of days.

Just a quick post to say that I'll be off-line for a couple of days on Monday & Tuesday, if anyone's trying to contact me. I hope to be up & running again by Tuesday night.


Competition, Completion and Multi Projects

I can't say this blog has too many readers, about 10 a day, unlike my other site, The Wing Fell Off which has exceeded 100 day. Having had cancer over the past year, and now hopefully on the recovery trail, has taken time away from activities such as 3D aircraft creation, which has only really resumed in a focused manner since the end of December 2007. (I'm still restricted from sitting long hours at a desk and that will be the case until the end of this year.)

Anyway I appear to have fallen off many peoples' radar as to being a creator and a source of aircraft for FSX and even CFS3. However that does not mean I am not working away on my projects such as those I have mentioned in recent posts.

Now that development of FSX and its SDK's have stabilized with the release of FSX SP2 and FSX Acceleration, an increasing number of modelers/developers are now focusing on FSX, and many are producing pleasing results, if not incredible results, and we're in for many more, judging by many WIP pictures posted in various forums.

Of course that means that I have competition, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed Gennadich/NeoqB's recent Fokker Dr-I release has been of great benefit to me. Firstly it's an incredible model and a pleasure to fly. Secondly it provided a bench mark to compare my own efforts. I could readily see areas where I might improve. I could also see differences in my approach, and areas which I find very pleasing in my own work, strong points, which I will continue to pursue. Additionally NeoqB illustrated the worth of using 2048 textures on the Dr-I, an approach I intend to follow. This did not appear to affect perf of the Dr-I. Lastly the release of the Dr-I showed that there is strong interest in WW1 aircraft for FSX, which has encouraged me to continue to support that genre for FSX.

I'm not sure I will use as many 2048 textures as NeoqB do, as I use specular maps also, which NeoqB did not use in the Dr-I. Some of my aircraft will use bump maps externally too, such as the Fokker D.VIII. Bump maps really have to be at 2048 resolution if subtlety has to be achieved. These days textures and materials have a greater impact on perf than triangle counts do. Vertex counts are important too particularly in FSX.

Returning to the theme of this post, with many aircraft under development for FSX and the prospect of competition, it's inevitable that many double ups will occur, i.e. other developers producing the same aircraft as I am (e.g. The Fokker D.VIII). Hopefully for the FS enthusiast this is good, as it provides choice. With that prospect what does one do with one's projects if someone else announces they are producing the same aircraft? In the instance of the Fokker Dr-I I dropped or shelved my project. The Dr-I was started a while back, before cancer, with the view to be included in a two aircraft payware pack (with a British WW1 aircraft - never announced), and wasn't slated for completion for some time. The Dr-I just went down the list. It was an easy decision to make which did not trouble me. Of course I immediately started to look for a home for the detailed Oberursel engine I had created and hence the Fokker D.VIII (and perhaps probably eventually, LOL, a Fokker D.VI).

I am a person who is continually starting on new aircraft meshes. It helps maintain interest when I have been too long on one particular aircraft. I have at least a dozen partially created airframe shells and probably 20+ others started in my WIP folder. Add to these many other aircraft that I have researched or am researching. The other benefit of potential competition is motivating me to move forward and actually make decisions as to which aircraft to complete. Thus I have 3 production lines as it were, those aircraft earmarked for completion/release in the next few months, my large 'factory' of commenced aircraft, and the parts production line for components such as engines, guns etc which can be used in a number of aircraft. Currently I am doing a lot of work in production line #3.

Returning to the question of what does one do if one finds someone announcing the same aircraft as oneself? In my case, if it is in production list number one, I continue on with my plans to complete and release the aircraft. If it is on list number two I lower its priority unless I am confident of doing a superior job. I would urge any other modeler/developer making the same aircraft to do likewise if they find me making the same aircraft as themselves. Please complete your aircraft. With Freeware aircraft many modelers make aircraft that they personally like so it's important that they continue on and complete them. I have encountered attitudes on forums, in the past, of individuals trying to deter others when they find someone making the same aircraft as themselves.

Admittedly it can be slightly disappointing to find that someone has been creating the same aircraft as oneself and might take a little bit of the gloss out of it. However at the end of the day it provides a challenge to do a better job. It's great if the other modeler shows off heaps of pictures in the forums as it shows me how I stand in comparison. There are a finite number of aircraft that have existed during the course of aviation history and as I said above, double ups will result.

On forums one finds posts by forum members on occasion bemoaning the fact that they end up with 2 or 3 versions of the same aircraft, and why can't developers get together and create other aircraft they need or want. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way and reading what I've written above, should provide some insight. I do find it annoying, however, when forum participants request or urge others to create the same aircraft for FSX, that they know me to be working on. No offense to the other modeler though. I've already outlined my philosophy to competition above, which I welcome.

I'll endeavour to post as much information as I can, on what I might be working on. (Many Sopwiths & Fokkers LOL). I'll continue posting bits and pieces on modeling , projects and potential projects here, on this blog, together with a miscellany of ruminations from time to time. I will be commencing a blog for my Aeroplane Art site soon which will feature news and hopefully wip pics of aircraft on my completion list. Aeroplane Art will focus primarily on aircraft I hope to complete. I won't show pics of WIP aircraft on my completion list until they are in a reasonably advanced stage.

With freeware I sometimes wonder whether releasing a good quality aircraft as freeware leads to these endeavours being taken for granted. Sometimes I think I perceive the mentality on forums 'if it's payware it has to be good and that freeware aircraft are not worth looking at. Maybe payware is the way to go?

As to payware, I have yet to decide even whether I will produce payware aircraft for myself or others. Of the many aircraft that I have commenced or researched there are a number that I have earmarked as possible payware projects. If and when I do create payware aircraft, when I am confident that I have the resources and information to complete an aircraft, I'll announce it. However there will otherwise be a complete blackout until the aircraft is almost there. (Hint most possible payware projects are interwar aircraft. Names such as Barnwell, Frise & Camm should provide further hints.... but I emphasize possible... anything can happen).

The 'Biff' was very successful for me. To date approximately 50,000 downloads of all packages, for all 3 simulators, from a number of sites, together with two magazine cover disks, a positive review and featured in another magazine article. However one can't rest on one's laurels. One has to get score on the board as it were and follow some more aircraft through to completion. Can I use the word soon? Depends on definition of soon LOL. Lets hope for at least two in the next two months. The likely candidates are listed in recent posts below. I'll be spending less time in forums.

Hopefully by completing another couple of aircraft and commencing Aeroplane Art , my profile as an aircraft creator will again increase and I'll return to more peoples' radar. Thus more will visit my sites, resulting in others having a clearer picture on what I am working on. Those who enjoyed the Biff will also enjoy my current projects.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Update on previous post

Just to clarify what I hope to achieve completion wise with respect to the previous post. I'm aiming for the Sopwith Snipe & Fokker D.VIII at the end of April. I'll probably focus on the Albatros D.Va for completion too. All the others will be ongoing too, but the main focus will be on the above 3, otherwise I'll end up with a nice collection of partially completed meshes.

I worked on the F6F-3 on the weekend too, completing most of the airframe structure I still have to create meshes for the engine, undercarriage, and detail around the cowl, break the model up for uc doors etc then UV map. Next comes the cockpit. The good thing about the F6F-3 is that I have most of the reference material that I need. I'm aiming to have that one completed after the middle of the year... first for CFS3, then FSX.

For now back to WW1 and let's complete something. :)



UPDATE 21 April 2008

Due to having to rest following cancer treatment these aircraft will appear at a much later date. I apologise to anyone who has been waiting on these.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Still Beavering Away.... freeware FSX projects

Just a quick note to say that while I've been quiet on my blog recently I am still working away on a number of 3D meshes of various aircraft.

Recently worked on models, include - Junkers D.I, Fokker E.V/D.VIII, Albatros D.Va (all new 2008 mesh), Clerget 9B engine, Oberursel URII engine, Sopwith Baby (all new 2008 rebuild), Sopwith Triplane, Siemens-Halske Sh.III engine, SSW D.III and of course Sopwith Snipe. I also plan to start on a Fokker D.VI before the week is out. I'll wait until the models are at an advanced stage before showing them in my blogs or forums. At this stage, as long as health issues don't intrude, I hope to start releases by late April 2008 at least. All will be freeware. I have to be careful with my leg and avoid sitting long times.

Hopefully I will be able to update to a DX10 graphics card in the next few weeks and then I can work on making cockpit shadows work in FSX DX10 preview mode.

I've mentioned many of these aircraft before, but most with the exception of the SSW D.III and Sopwith Snipe have been started afresh this year.



Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Biff Diaries lives on with changes on the way

I was considering changing the focus of this blog and moving to a new blog at MS Live Spaces. However I did not like having banner ads at Live Spaces. I did post earlier that I was changing the scope of this blog and moving virtual aircraft creation elsewhere. I have now deleted that post and this blog continues on in its original scope in the short term.

However change will come. I would expect any change of scope to be gradual with some overlap. I intend to gradually introduce more general posts on early aviation topics of interest, as distinct from 3D modeling and virtual aircraft creation.

I will still create a new blog as Live Spaces at that has some cool features (despite having banner ads).



Aeroplane Art

I originally established the Aeroplane Art web site with the intention of promoting and supporting both future payware & freeware add-on aircraft projects for the Microsoft Flight Simulator and Combat Flight Simulator franchises. Unfortunately during 2007, cancer was diagnosed in my right leg, an advanced myxoid liposarcoma, which is not very nice to have (understatement). Sad This of course, meant that aspirations to produce payware aircraft were placed on hold, hopefully on temporarily. However creation of virtual aircraft as a hobby activity continues, albeit fairly slowly at times. Thus Aeroplane Art will have a freeware focus in the short-term. Aircraft will be made available from the major download sites.

Aircraft produced will largely reflect my interests in aviation, which as most readers of this blog know, lie in the area of vintage aviation and warbirds, especially World War 1 aircraft. I do however have interests which span the entire gamut of aviation history including modern aviation. Current endeavours focus on the Sopwith Snipe for FSX and later for CFS3. I am one of those modelers who like to create new meshes frequently, to keep my skills up to date, thus there are a number of possible aircraft that could follow the Sopwith Snipe. An update of my earlier Bristol F2B, to FSX SP2 standard is in progress also.

I hope to commence updating the site sometime between now and late February. Early to mid February is going to be taken up with further radio therapy treatment. I will post WIP pics in my blogs in addition to the Aeroplane Art site, which will also feature galleries and perhaps articles also.



Saturday, January 05, 2008

Taking Shape.

The new WIP at one day's work, looking a bit cryptic. It's summer here, and after a week of rain comes the steamy heat.... slowing me down now. Tomorrow some texture work on the Snipe. Hopefully the heat will ease up. Phew.....!!



New - WIP

Along side the Snipe I'm doing other stuff, when I can. Doing new things keeps one fresh & existing skills intact.

Here's a WIP pic... just the wings so far, but I am able to use the Oberursel & UC parts from the Dr.I. I haven't decided on the target sim for this as yet...probably FSX, maybe CFS3. Largely a RT modeling exercise for now.

Free Image Hosting at



Friday, January 04, 2008

Satisfaction - Snipe Cockpit WIP pics.

At last the fruits of my labours are delivering satisfaction as the Sopwith Snipe cockpit takes shape. These are WIP pictures taken in cockpit in FSX at different times of day. Many of the textures are just templates and much work on the materials remains. This is just the groundwork.



Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year & Update

Happy New Year everyone!! May 2008 be rewarding to you all. (PS - Slightly late as it's 2nd January here in Oz.)

I'm now back with 3DS Max & Photoshop and slowly making progress.

A few posts ago in my post 'Time to down tools', I posted a list of projects I hope to tackle during the course of 2008. There's others in progress too that may join that list.

Anyway first up will be the Sopwith Snipe. The Snipe has been an on & off project since 2005. The external model, sans textures was actually completed in the space of one week in July or August 2005. Since then there have been a couple of fuselage revisions. The cockpit and Bentley BR-2 engine were largely modeled in 2006/2007. There have been changes in goalposts with FSX now being the primary target, although the CFS3 version is still planned. Much has happened during that time. My modeling skills have developed and approach changed, and the FSX SDK has been through 3 iterations in addition to the betas. Thankfully everything has now settled down. It's now known that FSX can support 2048 textures. Whether I further mod the Snipe to accomodate 2048, I don't yet know, apart from 1 cockpit texture which I have already changed. I use a full set of specular textures on the external aircraft and increasing these to 2048 may cause FSX to croak on older cards. I'll experiment. I am working on the cockpit textures and rendering ambient occlusion maps, working my computer overtime (I have a break or get on with household chores while the computer renders away.)

Next it will most likely be the Sopwith Baby, once my Clerget model is complete. After that or in parallel it will be the F6F-3, then followed by the Albatros DVa. There's one other possibility that I won't reveal just yet..... Now that Gennadich have released their freeware Dr.1 I have re-scheduled my Dr.1 way down the list (yep I was doing one of these too - for a payware project - that's the way the cookie crumbles LoL). Anyway the parts will be useful for another Fokker aircraft - freeware for FSX, which I might start today, just for the challenge and a refresher - my first all new aircraft for 2008 :) It won't delay the Snipe. I'll try and include the Junkers D.I into the mix too, in the next few months.