Report 045: F-35

This report has finally arrived.
This one took awhile, I feel this report was probably the toughest to make. Not by its own fault, but the production was always interrupted other matters.

One of them is, as some probably already know, but I’ve been invited by the Iceberg to go to the GDC next week.
And the preparations for the trip and the event, made it more difficult to find time to finish this report

But now thinking back, this made me realize, a report per month is not a good flow of information, especially if we want to build anticipation for the release, so in the future I may have to see alternatives or use help to add faster reports.


This image was already shared in the forums but as there may be others that do not know it here is the mock up of the final HUD:


The final HUD has some revisions from this mockup, but this is what you can expect how it will look.
I feared that the cyan color could be difficult to read, but in actual gameplay against multiple lighting conditions everything worked fine so far, still it can be change at any time in the configurations.

Also in this Hud is now customizable, I won’t say “fully”, because unlimited customization won’t be possible as some of the UI elements are placed and moved dynamically to adapt to every aircraft and game mode, but it is possible to completely reskin the UI elements.


As for the family that will be presented in this report, the F-35, this family is somewhat unique as it main aircrafts are is still in development and there are already lot of speculative designs.
While some appear to be more credible, it’s safer to assume that this in a special family composed mostly by fictional units.
But something I always wondered is why, besides the significant amount of fictionally designs that popped up in the last years, the F-35 doesn’t seem to share the same amount of popularity of other modern aircrafts.
Also this family has a lot preproduction designs, much earlier than the X-36, but at this point there were skipped and only to be added on later date.

So let’s start with the main unit:

The F-35A is your run of the mill Fifth Generation multi role fighter. Conventional Takeoff and
Landing, something noteworthy in this family, this variant has internal cannon.


Intended to replace the F-16 in capabilities, this first variant of the F-35 is reasonably the smallest when compared to its descending variations further down the line.


The next unit is the F-35C, very similar to the A variant, also a multirole, but with much larger wing spawn that allows it to fly at lower speeds.
However it does not have a gun installed by default.


The F-35C variant is capable of dealing with operations expected on carrier deployments, thus leading to such features such as its ability to fold its wing and the capability for catapult launches. Its larger wings built for slower landing speeds also speak to a larger payload and range.


Similar with the A version but with no gun and two seats, the F-35D is for training proposes.


As usual like most trainers it offers better capabilities against ground units, at the cost of additional weight.


The F-35E, a fictional multirole, it was heavily inspirited in the YF-23 wing layout, making this variant the most easily identifiable of the entire family.


The F-35E, besides the new wing designs, it is oriented on stealth, ECM, and solo capabilities. Ideal for deep strikes in enemy territory, this is perhaps one of the most advance aircraft the player is able to fly.
Coveted by regular air force pilots and well-to-do mercenaries alike, the F-35E’s capacity for the art of war is only kept back by its pilot’s ability.


The F-35M a delta winged attack variant, much like the FB-22 and its own variations. Increased
wingspan and payload size at the cost of mobility.


While still capable to engage fights, his forte is against ground units


The F-35U is a strike variant with is a revised version of the M variant with larger wing spawn.


Although at first impression it may look like it is more agile than the last one, but this variant actually loses some mobility in comparison to the F-35M due to the additional weight.
But on other hand it allows it to fly at lower speeds and higher altitudes.


Another functional design, the F-35X is dedicated fighter that follows the trend of adding reverse swept wings in conventional aircrafts.


The F-35X is a fighter variant with FSW to enhance maneuverability like it is usual for this wing design, but also gains all the typical disadvantages of this type of wings.
Even without the TVC engines of the Su-47 or the lightness of the F-16 FSW, this is actually the aircrafts with the highest pitch rate in all the game at the moment, making it the beast of the tight turns.


The FB-35 is the ultimate Strike variant, perhaps a design inspired in the FB-22C.


Very specialized in attack ground targets, but has very poor mobility. However to compensate that, the FB-35 has the lowest frontal RCS in all the family.

This is not the final list of F-35 variants, so don’t be surprised if you see another F-35 variant on the battlefield.

Also you may have noticed that there is no B variant, the reason is because there is no VTOL nor landing mechanics at the moment, so this variant will be postponed until this feature has been added.


This was something I was interest in fixing for quite some time ago
In the alpha, all the performance specs of the units were given based on what was the most popular perception of the capabilities of that aircraft. In a way it was great since it made as most of the units performs as what people expected of them.

But the problem started when it were added units that never appeared before in any media.
They didn’t carry any preconception like the others, so how good would they maneuver? To avoid this issue, the performance of these variants was mostly a variation of any existing similar unit.

The result was ok, but I wasn’t completely satisfied, because this made that some of the crazier variants feel not so different than the original.
Other idea I also wanted to debunk is the mobility of the aircrafts is higher as the technology advances; this idea is very common on other games of the genre, but not very accurate.
This idea meant that an FB-22-5 would be more maneuverable than a smaller and lighter F-5.

So my idea to fix this was to make a formula that can generate the performance values by imputing known attributes, like volume, engine thrust, wing aspect ratio, surface area, etc.

Since we are dealing with a lot of obscure aircrafts, there are some of the values are guesses by what it’s available, for example weight is determined by volume, using a similar ratio of weight/volume of another known aircrafts with similar shape and era.
It is safe to assume that this formula is far from being scientifically correct, but it actually follows the aerodynamic principles of how these elements affect each other. Still, the point is not to make an accurate simulation, but more a coherent and proportional representation of each aircrafts attributes.
But to my surprise, actually some attributes that some aircrafts had before are quite close to the new ones.
Also, with this you can expect that lighter fighters like the F-16 with relative low weight and fly by wire technology to be much more agile than other more modern and heavier aircrafts.
This is also great because these results are completely unbiased, and while they can still be refined they already display far more interesting characteristics than before.


Before closing, as it was mentioned above, the next week I’ll be attending the GDC the whole week, so if you are going there too I hope we have chance to meet.
But for those that will unable to be present I’ll try to make a report after this week, to share everything that was relevant.
In that week I’m not sure how available I’ll be to reply to comments or forums post, but I’ll try to stop by whenever I get the chance.

As for the future report there is still a lot of aircrafts to make the official reveal, some have been already hinted, other appear in screenshots, but future reports may probably be a little differently, they could be either directed to mechanics, weapons or other types of units.

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.

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Posted on March 10, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Really liking the F-35U’s appearance. It would be great if I had the time to attend GDC. This is one of the few games where I’ve had the degree of player-developer involvement that VT has been exposed to, and being there in-person would seal the deal.

  2. If you see Crypticsea by any chance tell him to hurry with Sub Rosa. I need that game done.

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