Important announcement !

I have an important announcement referring to the change in the production that I’ve mentioned before in the forums.

In the last weeks the production already entered in maximum speed because it is intended to release in the first quarter of 2014. (and yes, it will be on steam, yay!)

In the last month VT gained the support of a publisher, this is really great news and I believe this was possible thanks to the support of all of you.

They will provide resources to make the game better and they are not interested in limiting the “artistic freedom” of the game. (they only requested multiplayer mode, but it was already intended to be added if there was a possibility). This and releasing earlier than initially planned tightens the schedule as there is plenty of stuff to add before we can meet the set date of release.

This leads to the only downside I see with this. Because this will be a race to the finish line, and as it was a request from their side, the alpha funding will have to be concluded.
While I’m a bit sad about this, since I was enjoying a lot this style of development, I will respect their request.

However, while the alpha funding will be closed, I’m interest in providing a few more meaningful updates.

I’m very grateful to all of you and I want you to know that even if I couldn’t reveal any information until all was set, I am and will continue to be looking for your best interests.

But don’t worry, all the alpha supporters until now will receive the final copy of the game so that is not really an issue. I will also continue to be present here and I will provide support with tutorials and news, however it will be several months without any playable update.

As for your suggestions, I always enjoyed them and I’ll be grateful if everyone continues to provide them. However like I said before, the schedule for the release is very thigh, there is a lot to do, but if is any free time available it will be used to address some of your suggestions.

Also because of alpha funding will be concluded, I’m very interest in making the mission Editor flawless before the updates end, so all you can keep entertained while there is no more updates.
Since the F-22 is so popular, I believe it’s the best plane to add in the final updates (but it won’t be the only one).

With this said, it up to you if you respect or not this new development. But I’ll accept any of your opinions and either way I still will be very grateful to you all.

But stay tuned, more reports will follow.

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Report 040: Mission editor Ready


This report contains the changes of the 0.2260 update.

And it’s here!
This update took a bit of time to iron out all small bugs and issues with the editor. But now it is completely finished and ready to start making new missions.


As it has been stated before, the editor was made to be as user friendly as possible. However, if the users find something that need to be changed or improved, feel free to point out.

As for this mode, it can be assessed in the main menu or at any time by pressing Ctrl+E. however I encourage you, when making new original missions assess it by the main menu, when you want to explore the functionalities the editor, use it during a mission.

With this I look forward to play your missions in the future.

Now onto the already preview units previewed units, they will be no surprise since there were all identified very quickly.

Fist let’s start with the Tacit Blue. A ground support aircraft designed as a low-observable, stealthy battlefield observation platform.


Although in reality, Tacit Blue only acts as a recon, in the game, the Tacit Blue will be armed and it will serve as a CAS aircraft.
This aircraft, often called the “Whale” relies on its stealthiness to secretly collect information on enemy ground forces and in the game it boost the detection capabilities of nearby allied ground vehicles.


The second unit is the XST, although at first impression, it may be visually similar to the Hopples Diamond, this aircraft is far more agile and combat capable, but with the drawback of being less stealthy.


The XST can be easily identified by the large, over-sized air intake on top of its cockpit which facilitates better airflow at greater angles of attack than the Nighthawk and also allowing for a lower stall speed performance as air continues to flow into the engines.


And finally the P.125. that is an stealthy interdictor aircraft developed in two versions. The VTOL and CTOL.
This version is the conventional take of version, designed as the P.125 ECR, with the role of Suppression of Enemy Air Defences.


Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the P.125 is the lack of a cockpit, the pilot sits fully enclosed inside the aircraft in a high-recline seat, relying on electronic instruments and a complex camera system to maintain operational awareness. This unique design allows the aircraft to exploit its high agility and G-tolerance to the fullest, but can leaves it especially vulnerable to electronic interference.


To be part of the P.125’s loadout it was added the ALARM (Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missile) in order the aircraft to properly fulfill the SEAD role.
The ALARM is passive seeker similar to the AGM-88 HARM, this means it can only lock to targets that possess an active radar.


Still regarding to the P.125, one of the unique characteristics of this aircraft, is that the pilot is buried inside the fuselage.
It would have been a missed opportunity if it wasn’t added a cockpit immediately, also another interesting aspect of this aircraft, is that the pilot can only see the outside through a computer rendered vision.
This detail was considered in the course of the development, it was clear that this concept of buried cockpit would have been more interesting if the Synthetic vision was also recreated.

The goal was to simulate computer graphics in the game itself and here it is:

Third person view:

A normal vision like any other aircraft

Cockpit view:

An enclosed cockpit, displaying the outside trough various monitors.

Hud view:

The Synthetic vision only without the cockpit model.

A single screen shot can capture the whole effect, so I encourage you to give it a try in this view.
In this version, the Synthetic vision is not fully completed. In the future versions, to stay more true to the original concept it won’t display clouds, fog or natural light.

And that’s all for this update, there were more planes and weapons planned for this update, however the fine-tuning of the mission editor consumed a large amount of time, so that content postponed to the next release.

  • Added Mission editor
  • Added Synthetic vision

  • Added Tacit Blue
  • Added XST
  • Added P.125 ECR
  • Added ALARM missile

 

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.

Report 40 sneak peek

Report040_preview

Can someone guess their names?

Report 039: Mission editor preview


This report contains the changes of the 0.2250 update.

The Mission editor announced a while back is almost completed and in this update it will featured a working preview.
Anyone interest in making original missions may like to try this out.

This is how you can access it:
Press Shift+E during play time and you will immediately enter in edit mode

After entering in the edit mode, change it to the mission editor mode.
Note, the mission editor in this version is a preview, not all functions are available and it is not yet possible to make a mission from scratch, but you can add and edit missions events at will.

Before showing an event as an example, let’s explain the terminology:
Missions– These are the player missions, the accomplishment of the main mission will result in clearing the level, whoever sub missions can be added, they can be used as separate phases of the main mission or be used as independent operations.

Actions– there are the controllers that change the level, they range can be from spawning a unit, change the music or triggering the death of a unit

Triggers– these are the controllers that check the game state forking from certain conditions, when those conditions are true, they call any specified action (They can be from checking the player position or checking the number of targets remaining in the level);

Conditions– is a controller composed of group of triggers, only when all contained triggers are true this controller will call any specified action;

Variables-stores numeric values, they can be used for controlling branching patch to be used for karma levels;

Pointers-are the static hud points that can be used to help guiding the player in the missions;

Npc Missions– these are the controllers that define the goals for AI players, by default all AI have the mission to kill all enemies, but it can range from guarding a zone to escape to a designated place;

Dialog-these are the controllers for the communications dialogs that appear in-game;

Fixed Events-these are quick triggers that can call any spiffed action in a specific event they can be from the player clearing the mission to crashing to the ground;

Just to try it out, let’s add an event that makes backup arrive if the player HP goes below certain level.

First we create the trigger and setup the desired parameters. It is important to make it active.
Conditions Only, will make this trigger only usable when checked as part of a condition group, in this case we don’t need that.
Use Limiter, defines how many times this trigger can become true, with the “1” value it will call only one time for backup and then it will be automatically turned off.
If this trigger is part of a condition, then that condition can never be true while a trigger element is disabled.


Then define the intended HP value. For this example, this trigger will be active when the payer HP reaches bellow 30%.


The next step is to create the action the spawns the unit. As we want a backup unit, we set as team 1, as usually this is the player’s team.
Whoever, the player can be part of any team, even neutral and can change at any point during mission.


But we must not forget to set the AI active in the unit.


The final step is to link the action to the trigger. To do that, we need to create a list. A list is a set of actions that can be called.
A trigger can have a multiple action lists, each with their own call probability, but only one will be called.
This is useful to make controlled “random” events.
(If there is only one list and it as 0% probability, the game will assume that the maker forgot to set that value and that list will have 100% probability)


And finally link the action to that list. (Naming triggers, actions or other controllers will help you later when you need to find the right one in a huge list of controllers)
After this you can turn off the editor and play. If the condition is met, the event will be carried out.

You can also play and edit with the currently available missions by changing the existing events to test different outcomes.

At the moment, the game already offers a wide selection of actions and triggers, but new ideas are always welcome to expand this selection even further.
The purpose of this update is for the player to get used to the mission editor, because it will be fully functional and it will be possible create completely new missions in the next update.
So look forward to that.

Enjoy the editor and again feedback is much appreciated especially if anyone has ideas to add more actions or triggers.
When the editor is completed, it will be accompanied wit some tutorials, but in case someone as any question, feel free to ask.

There’s a lot more to do with the editor in this version, but that will be left to the player to find out. As for the rest of the update, as the editor at the moment is the most important priority, there isn’t much room to add anything else, but in this update there still are some extras.
First, playable aircrafts:

The F-15B, one of the most basic variants for the F-15 family, it is a two seater, trainer version.


The F-15B is the trainer version of the F-15A and while it is a trainer is a fully combat capable variant.


Similarly it was added the F-15D, the trainer variant of the F-15C


The F-15D has better avionic and performance compared to the F-15B.


A similar unit is the Su-27UB, the two seater/trainer variant of the Su-27


The Su-27UB is however a much lower performance than the standard Su-27S.

It was also added the Jaguar Gr1A.
This aircraft was shown a while back but it is one of those that units that haven’t been added yet

The jaguar Gr1A It a simple performance variant.

And finally the new campaign has started the production, this will be a truly story based campaign.
Also, while the whole campaign and related content will be released all of it in a single update, as an extra it added in this update a new map that it will used in that campaign.


The map still needs some tweaks and the ground objects to be added, but this will give more variety to the existing maps available.

  • Added Mission editor preview
  • Fixed some bugs and issues.

  • Added F-15B
  • Added F-15D
  • Added Su-27UB
  • Added Jaguar Gr1A
  • Added OceanM2 map

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.

Tutorial 009: F-104 creation (In detail)


This tutorial is an extension of the [Tutorial 008: F-104 creation] and it will help by explaining in detail some of the more important steps.


Let’s start with you to create moving parts, this is a simple but very effective technique.


Continuing right after the wings creation, in the step where the wings only have the volume done.


To create the moving parts, there are two ways so add the sub divisions; one is using [Cut] and other [Slice].
In this step we use the [Slice] since it will create a perfectly straight line.


Then we use [Cut] to create a division between the to vertices.


After adding more sub divisions this is who the finished result looks like.


To create the first moving part select the corresponding faces (also include the faces below).


With those faces selected, hit [Deatach] to remove them from the model


Detach it but not as a clone.


There are situations that are easier if we for with the moving part as a separate model, but not this time.

Selected [attach] and click on the moving part. We did this do brake the connections with the other faces. (There are other ways to do this)


Now the moving part belongs again to the model.


With that part selected, hit [Hide unselected]


With only that part visible, create the missing faces on the sides of the parte using [create]


After creating the faces, select both edges were it should pivot.


Apply a chamfer, the value depends greatly depends on the model, the intentions is to remove the sharp edges.


After the chamfer is done, press [Unhide all]


No with the wing selected, press [hide unselected].


As you can see there is a hole in the wing, were it was the moving part before, fill it using [crate] in the faces option.


Do the same to all other moving parts.
(Note as an exception, do not apply the chamfer to the Leading edge)


This is a missing step in the other tutorial, is how should be named the materials

For the cel shaded solid material name them as [mat_Solid#] starting the number with 1


For windows or other materials with interpolated alpha name them as [mat_Transp#] starting the number with 1
For fences or other materials with binary alpha name them as [mat_Alpha #] starting the number with 1.

For interior texture or materials that are independent from the selected skin [mat_CpitTransp#] [mat_CpitAlpha #] [mat_CpitAlpha #] starting the number with 1

This part was briefly explained in the other tutorial, there is also some other tutorials that approach this subject, but this one will try to be even more detailed.

First let’s start with a procedure that I highly recommend.
Create a box on the viewport.

Place it in the position 0 0 0, then convert it as a editable poly.


With the box selected, attach the aircraft.


Then delete that box inside the edit option. This whole process is to create the history of the model, sometimes there are unexpected anomalies with the model in the game if this step is not done before skinning.

If the model is displaying an unusual behavior with the animations during the game, is very likely this is related. Deleted the [Skin] in the modifier list, do this procedure and the skin again the model.


With that done, now we have to create the bones, first we create the main bone, place it near the origin roughly pointing to the direction of movement.


Set the bone in the position 0 0 0, an then select the small bone create and place it with the same X value of the main bone (in this case is 0), this is to make the bone perfectly aligned.
When this is done, delete the small one.


Add all the bones in the pivot positions. You may want to give them the corresponding rotation of the wings, as it will be easier to animate later on.


Add the bones for the tail and all other parts.


After all the bones are added, link them to the main bone (not the aircraft model)


This is the part where we skin the model, as usually most of the moving parts are independent entities from the main model, this step is quite easy.

Select the aircraft model, and go to the edit tab


Select skin in the modifier list.


Press add and select all the bones.


After all the bones are added, make all of them relative (that R in yellow)


Press [Edit envelopes]


Then activate the check box [Vertices]


Select all the vertices in the model


Set 1 in the [Abs. Effect.] in the [Weight properties] (you will notice that all the model is now red,)


No go back to the model edition without collapsing the skin modifier. Selected some moving parts.


Hide the rest using [hide unselected].


Go back to the skin and selected the corresponding bone.


Set all the vertices of that moving part with the value 1 in the [Abs. Effect.]


Do the same to other moving parts and the corresponding bones.
After finishing, do not collapse the [Skin] in the modifier list

After the skin is done let’s start with the animation


Select the bones you want to work.


With the [Auto key] active, press the key in the 0 and 10 frames, this is just a precaution to save the unedited position.


Now let’s create the pitch movement, rotate the parts up for the pitch up effect (if you want , you can use the local orientation)


Now add the rest position by coyping the keys in the 0 or 10.


The add the pitch down animation.

If you notice, the animation has 16 frames, the amount of frames used can change, but the rest position to be always in the middle, and the pitch animation must always be [pitch up, rest, pitch down]


Now the roll animation, starting with the [roll counter clockwise]


Then rest position and [roll clockwise].
The roll animation must always be [roll counter clockwise, rest, roll clockwise]


Now the yaw animation, starting with the [yaw left]


Then rest position and [yaw right].
The yaw animation must always be [yaw left, rest, yaw right]


For the upper part of the tail add the same pitch animation in the same time frames.


As for velocity states animations, (the ones that change depending of the speed of the unit)
Start with the rest position.


Then add the altered position.
For velocity states animations it must always be [rest position, altered position]


Adding the flaps animation, add it away from the pitch position.


Then add the altered position. Normally this types of animations have 10 of size.


And finally the brake animation (the acceleration animation also works the same)


It is like the velocity states animations, it must always be [rest position, altered position]

Note, this is important, even if a bone only uses a fraction of all the frames of the animation, it always must have a key at the start and at the end of the animation.


Do the same to all moving parts, desirably all the animations, pitch, yaw, roll, must be created in different time frames.


And now the final step.


Select only the aircraft and select [object settings]


Go to [Mesh animation]


Add a new animation. You can configure the name as you wish, is that name that will be used to setup in the parameters.

Set the exct start and end frame animations, if you make a mistake in the time of if a bone does not have a key in that time position you will experience a jump in the animation.


To avoid any unwanted movement exclude all the unneeded bones, including the main one, but for that uncheck [apply to bone and decedents] otherwise there will not be an animation at all.


After the unneeded bones are excluded hit [ok]


Do the same to all the animations. And that’s it, then export like mentioned in the other tutorial.

Report 038: Lampyridae


This report contains the changes of the 0.2240 update.

First, before moving on to the main dish, during these last updates the mission editor has been developed in parallel , but now it reached a point It can be safely be announced that it will be released in the end of the next week.
So look up for that.

Now onto the Lampyridae (also known as Firefly).
Some of you may not be aware of this aircraft; it was developed at the same time as the F-117 and followed the same principles of faceted faces to reflect away the radar waves.

Starting with the first version of the Lampyridae, this is probably the best known version.
This aircraft in a primitive shape is larger than a F-16.

The design principles of the Lampyridae is to be a stealth interceptor for medium range engagement.
It is no really suited for dogfights as his agility far from being spectacular.

Keeping in mind that the front part of the aircraft is the one more like to be exposed in the interception, it has a very small visible radar cross section, even smaller than the F-117.


As you can see, the Lampyridae is the stealthiest aircraft at the moment in the game, however it does not hold the weapons in the weapons bay, so much of that stealtyness is lost when it is loaded.


The Lampyridae II is a direct evolution were it was added a conventional bobble cockpit but also changed the layout of the moving parts, improving the maneuverability.


The Lampyridae II is a little less stealthy, but more maneuverable aircraft.


The Lampyridae III goes back against to the original and adapted it for transonic flight.


This version of the Lampyridae III is more stable than the previous versions. This version is also more suited for ground engagements, but only for the basic operations as it was developed only with air targets in mind.


And the last one, the Lampyridae IV, this is one of the first 5th generation fighter in the game, but is also a pure 5th generation, meaning it emphasis more in stealth than in maneuverability.


In a simplistic perspective, the Lampyridae IV is a stealthier version of the Eurofighter typhoon. However it may be stealthier, but you can’t even compare them in performance, the Eurofighter typhoon surpasses in almost everything


The Lampyridae IV will also include the most advanced Main weapon in the game, the IRIS-T.
(this is because some of the most evolved variants in several families still use the initial versions of the main weapon)

The IRIS-T is a very agile capable of tracking targets of the bore sight and it also has a more complex fight path to allow it to maximize hit probability.
But remember this, it may be more advanced and agile, but it still depends how the pilot use it to be effective, otherwise it will miss like any other weapon.

Also, you can try this update right away as it is already available.

  • Added variable number of teams in skirmish
  • Added missile back tracking
  • Fixed some specular materials issues.

  • Added Lampyridae
  • Added Lampyridae II
  • Added Lampyridae III
  • Added Lampyridae IV
  • Added IRIS-T missile

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.

Tutorial 008: F-104 creation

This tutorial will cover all the steps of the aircraft creation except the game’s parameters configuration.
To avoid being an extensive tutorial, this will be a quick overview without addressing with detail any area.

Because of this, this tutorial is more suited for someone that already knows the basic 3d modeling knowledge and desire to learn what is the production pipeline in making an aircraft
If anyone whishes, feel free to request and more detailed tutorial for any particular step.

You can find this image in here
En.wikipedia.org



First we start by creating the box that will hold the reference image.


As the shape of the aircraft we want to model helps, we can start by creating a cylinder with roughly the same diameter of the aircraft


After converting to an editable poly we mold the vertices to conform the shape of the aircraft.


To make the canopy, we create another cylinder.


Adjust the new cylinder to match the silhouette of the canopy


After that, we blend it with the main fuselage, by using cuts, deleting and creating new faces.


Then we create the dorsal bump as a separate model, se start off with a box and use chamfer to make it smoother


As for the intakes, it is another separate model, that starts as half of a cylinder and then reshaped as an editable poly.


For the tail, again we start as a box and the reshape accordantly to the reference image.


To have the proper volume we may want to add more subdivisions and some extrudes for the upper part of the tail.


Using extrudes and cuts we shape it to resemble the desired profile.


Making as a separate model, we add another cylinder with collapsed vertices to form the tip of the cone.


Shape the model to blend with the cone and form a ramp in the hidden part of the intake.


Merge the two models


Create the inside details with cuts and extrudes.


Now going to the engine, use again extrudes and bevels to shape it.


Continue until it reaches the desired shape


Now we go back to the tail and detach the moving parts, reshape them and attach them again.


We make the horizontal surface of the tail with a box and using chamfers.


The wing is made as a separate model, again by shaping a box.


After the wing is finished we blend it with the intake and the main fuselage.


To make the control surfaces we must detach the desired faces, refine them and attach them again


Then we move to the cockpit creating, first we start by temporarily detaching the canopy and fill the empty hole.


After the cockpit volume is done we detach it from the main model we attach back the canopy and weld were the vertices were separated.


Then we add a pilot chair using only a simple volumes without much detail.


Then it is time to add the small sensors and little details.


For the speed brake, we start by using the cut and defining the shape in the fuselage. After it is done, detach it and add Shell in the modifier list in order to have volume.


Using cuts and extrudes, make the inside compartment of the speed brake.


For the gun, we use two cylinders, one will be blended with the fuselage, as for the green one, it will be used as a Boolean subtraction.


After applying the Boolean, don’t forget to clean the surface as it leaves unwanted vertices.


We can make the surfaces details on the fuselage by using cuts and extrudes.


Don’t bother in making the details in the other side because in the end we will apply the “symmetry” modifier


We better not forget the ventral fin, achieved by shaping simple box.


Then we added the final details of the hinges in the brakes.


And finally the landing hook, that is a combination of reshaped boxes and cylinders.


But the very last step is the creation of the weapon pylons. To model them, you may want to make them as separate files with their own reference images and then merge with the aircraft file.



We start the mapping by deleting the other half of the model. Then we apply UVW Mapping with a box projection.


Organize each part in a simple an ordered way


After every part is properly mapped duplicate the model and in that copy mirror the mapping and merge with the original


Then packed it as tightly as possible inside of the square. (note in this mapping it was left a wide portion of unused area to give space for the Doppelrumpf variant)



After the uv map and light cook is rendered, combine both in a single texture. The light map is added as an overlay above a 50% grey flat color.


Then we draw the panel lines using the pencil in 1 pixel in back color. For this make use the most reference images you can.


The final touch in the panel lines, add the effect of outer glow in back an 30% opacity and in multiply blend.


Then we add the default colors, these are the color that will not change regardless of the camo skin we make (for example, the engine nozzle).


After that we can finally make our skins.


To finish the texture, don’t forget to add the layer for the destroyed effect. Add something like black stains and crashes in a multiply blend mode.


Then apply it to the model. (actually you should apply the texture as soon as possible to be better aware when creating the panel lines and skins.)



Make a simple rough shape to be used as the collision model


Add the main bone in the position (0,0,0). (be sure the model is also in that position as well)


Add the bones for the control surfaces, and make them children of the main bone.


Animate the bones.


Skin the weight of each bone in the model.


Confirm and readjust the animations.


(This is for ogre max only)


Configure and define the animations, always exclude the bones you don’t need in each animation


Select the model and the collision and export as selected.


Add it to the game and play.

Report 037: Su-30MKI


This report contains the changes of the 0.2230 update.

This time, for experimentation, the way this update was uploaded was a little different, the game patch was made available to update before releasing the report.
The next updates will probably follow this trend, so keep your heads up; you may never know that a new update is already available.

Also, after the lengthy update that was the stealth mechanic and f-117 family, it is time for the development to shift back again to the editor. The editor is very important, because it will be used later in the creation of the new campaign.
Because of that, while in this phase, the upcoming updates will consist more in quick to produce variants and addition of small scale mechanics.

That will start with this update; as it adds some new units, a new mechanic for missions and fixes several bugs.

But let’s begin with the aircrafts first:

The su-30MKI, if I recall correctly, I believe it actually one of the fist variants to be requested, that request was not forgotten and here it is.


The Su-30MKI is not as super maneuverable as the su-37, but still very agile none the less and it includes up to date electronics.


Another unit is a new version of the new MiG-21, the Mig-21S.
Actually this version is older than any other variant currently available in the MiG -21 family.
The interest part of this family is that while in some other units it was added the first versions and gradually added more superior versions, with the mig-21 will be added in the reverse order and gradually reach the first version.


The MiG-21S with an agile aircraft, it was weaker avionics only allows it to be reliable only as a fighter.

Note: at the moment the loadout of the MiG-21S is not accurate, it uses some weapons like the r-60 that was only made compatible with later variants.


The last aircraft, a slightly different variant, the CL-282, directly derived from the F-104, but this aircraft is actually the birth of the U-2 family.


The CL-282 is a dedicated high altitude recon unit and the fuselage already resembles the U-2A.

The main interest of adding the CL-282 was to be used in future scripted missions, but because this aircraft is completely unarmed, it may not be that much fun to play with.

In actual gameplay perspective, for now, there isn’t any use for recon units. Some special ability could be added is a special function in the future, but for now there is no clear idea how it will work.
If anyone as any suggestions how it may work and for what it may be used, feel free to suggest like always.
Other possibility is to give stats buff of ground units when a recon unit is present in the area.

But this was all the units added for now, for those who were waiting for the F-16XL, it was not forgotten, but it wasn’t completed in time for this update.

One issue that has been fixed with this update, was the weapons bay texture. Although the textures were effectively in the game folder in the last update, it lacked the update to the material template to make use of them, but with this update everything has been fixed and now work properly.

As for the AI there was some small improvements, it was slightly tweaked the collision avoidance and from now on the AI use some special functions, namely the overdrive mode and NF-104A’s boost.


It is a simple mechanic that consist in allowing the configuration the change of specific values of the unit the that deals damage and the unit that receives damage.
This will help make more varied and interesting mutators and arcade-like missions. With this options is possible to make mission where killing a specific type of target will resupply ammo, while other gives more time or a timed mission.

Later, this mechanic will also used to update some the existing battle scenarios and to create more challenges.

  • Bloody overdrive, developed from the suggestion on the forums, the overdrive ability is the same as the original. But in this mutator, the Sp Fuel is charged as you make kills and deal damage. The sp fuel will not restart if to initial values if you are shot down.

Whether you use this mutator or the original, be prepared from here on to fight AI players that can also use this mode it effectively, so no longer you are the only one with this ability.

  • Vampire mode- this was actually one of the first mutators to has been suggested and ones I was more interest in adding from the start. In this mutator, the Ho drains overtime, and it is recharged by the same amount of damage you deal, so you have to keep fighting if you want to stay alive.

This is a good mutator for the survival mode

  • Resupply with kills- this is for players how usual waste all their ammo in the skirmish battle, this way they don’t have to force be destroyed to resupply ammo.
  • Guns fight- other mutator that has been planed from the start, this combined the directional damage that was added in the last update, makes matches quite engaging

 


In the last update, while it was announced, it was missed the inclusion of more awards, but this time they are available with this update and it was added even more.
But this is not the end, it will be added much more awards in the future, probably with every update will be added a few of them.

So if anyone have any ideas for more awards feel free to suggest in the forums.

Also, as mentioned in the beginning of the report, this update is already available, so you can try it right away.

  • Added Gain/ give mechanic
  • Added the ability of AI use special functions
  • Fixed various bugs and issues

  • Added SU-30MKI
  • Added MiG-21S
  • Added CL-282
  • Added more mutators
  • Added more awards

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.

Report 036: Out of the Blue

This report contains the changes of the 0.2220 update.

The long awaited update is finally here, this report will introduce a new family of aircraft has been previewed in an earlier report, but most importantly, it adds the much requested stealth system.


But first let’s begin the F-117 family.
This particular family was really fun to develop, especially because it changes so drastically in each iteration, as you’ll see below.
Also something to note, following the earlier tradition, when a new family is added, it was always developed at the same time all variants important, but the addition of these aircraft was done gradually in multiple updates, but this time all of these aircraft will be added this single update.


Starting with this particular aircraft, it was one of the first concepts in which would be born future F-117.
This design was originally unnamed, but because it was created to be tested in an RCS computation program called ECHO1 it will adopt that name for itself.


The ECHO was one the first tangible experiment in stealth aircraft and the absolute first beginnings of the F-117 series. The airframe produced after exhaustive computer simulations was grotesque to say the least, but it was the first step in producing the highly successful Nighthawk. The simple, faceted design offers inherent stealth capability, that when coupled with RAM coating; render the ECHO invisible to radar.

Weapon systems and basic electronics have been added to this design, but are characteristically limited by the accommodations required to achieve stealth capability.
Due to being a small aircraft the Echo can only carry two missiles and as it only has a few moving surfaces it is not very nimble fighter.

[CONCEPT]



This strange shaped aircraft is named “Hopeless Diamond” experimental ‘black’ prototype was the progenitor of a long line of development and experimental aircraft that eventually led to the highly successful F-117 Nighthawk strike aircraft.


The Hopeless Diamond already bears a superficial resemblance to the Nighthawk, though it has a much more simplistic shape and lacks vertical control surfaces. The design of the Hopeless Diamond allows the majority of radar waves to be reflected away at odd angles, slightly raising the surrounding area with more interference, but otherwise remaining largely “invisible.” The airframe has been coated with the first experimental Radar Absorbent Material (RAM) coating, and has a radar cross-section smaller than a large bird when viewed head-on by radar when combined with its unusual shape.

The Hopeless Diamond is a stealthy but low-performance surgical strike aircraft, carrying little ordinance and lacking maneuverability- however, its stealth and low visibility allows the pilot to carefully plan out his attack to use his weapons to their full potential.
Because of the lack of vertical stabilizer it cannot yaw and it has a high tendency to slip, but thanks to that same lack of stabilizer it is stealthier than ECHO.

[CONCEPT]



This version is the immediate evolution; while it still remains as the Hopeless Diamond this is the intermediate configuration.
The overall shape has been changed to the extremities resemble more like wings at the cost of adding more faces and potential increasing the radar signature.


The Hopeless Diamond (intermediate configuration) has a somewhat improved mobility compared to its predecessor, making it easier to deploy surprise attacks to other units, but is still is a pain to maneuver.

[CONCEPT]



Evolving from the intermediate configuration, the Near Have Blue adds actual wings and an inverted V stabilizer, making it far more combat capable than any other previous version.


In this iteration, the Near Have Blue already starts to resemble the mass produced version of the F-117.
The changes in this version make it a more satisfactory fighter and a viable choice if the pilot is willing to accept this machine’s limitations

[CONCEPT]



Now the more familiar HAVE BLUE, this is the first version, the 1001, this version has an instrumentation boom and spin recovery chute that hampers the sheath effectiveness


The HAVE BLUE is experimental prototype were the next development in the Nighthawk series. With two aircraft produced to explore characteristics of the Nighthawk airframe, the HAVE BLUE aircraft were smaller than the production Nighthawks and had inward-canted vertical control surfaces in addition to being smaller than subsequently developed aircraft. The 1001 Variant was the original model and was used to experiment with flight characteristics of the novel shape of the Nighthawk.
The HAVE BLUE is quite bigger in comparison with the Near Have Blue, but still not big enough to store extra weapons aside from the missiles.

[PROTOTYPE]



The HAVE BLUE 1002 Variant was a subsequent development used to experiment with radar returns of the aircraft and was coated in Radar Absorbent Material and removes any extra equipment o maximize the stealth capabilities of this unit.


HAVE BLUE 1002 is fully capable of carrying out attack missions, but is again limited by the small weaponry capacity of the Nighthawk series, relying on stealth to perform quick, surgical releases into strategic enemy positions to inflict the most damage.

[PROTOTYPE]



The Senior Trend is the final experimental version of the Nighthawk, the Senior Trend aircraft is almost visually identical to the production F-117A, and has full provision for weapons carriage and all flight and 1st generation electronics installed.


The Senior Trend was lengthened from the HAVE BLUE series, while the nose was shortened to improve visibility. In addition, the vertical tail surfaces were positioned outwards after a study showed that inward canted fins actually increased radar returns.
The Senior Trend can be distinguished from The F-117A because of the smaller Vertical stabilizers.
This variant can carry special weapons although it only has two weapon bays, this is because it is only loaded with only one missile and leaves the other bay door for the special weapon.

[PROTOTYPE]



This version, is the true F-117A and recreate the actual version without fictional sub weapons or the ability to store missiles.


The F-117 “Nighthawk” has the distinction of being the first true stealth aircraft, using its distinctive and iconic faceted design to scatter radar waves away from its body and render itself virtually invisible to detection systems, with a cross-section equivalent to that of a large bird. Combat-proven in several conflicts, the aircraft is actually a strike aircraft, despite its “Fighter” designation. Severe limitations to aerodynamic performance and weapons capability have been made to accommodate the stealth features- the Nighthawk is slow in terms of both speed and turning because of its airframe and non-afterburning engines, and carries a very reduced amount of weaponry in internal bays.

[MASS PRODUCED]



The only fictional unit in this list, made to fit the more usual gameplay style, this is variant, the F-117SD (that sands for self defense), is almost identical to the F-117A but adds more weapons bays to fit the AIM-9L missiles.


The F-117SD, as mentioned above is visually also specs wise is almost identical to the F-117A but with increased ordinance.
The decision to make this fictional variant was to address the interested players that want an truly accurate F-117 while also fulfilling the desire others that preferred a dogfight capable F-117.

[FICTIONAL]



By showing the underside of both F-117A and F-117SD it is possible to notice the addition of two more bay doors that store the AIM-9L missiles in the latter variant.


The F-117B is the two seater trainer version of the F-117. This variant is directly derived from the SD version, so it is more combat capable than the original


Although this variant and the concept did not have any official name, it was labeled as the B variant because that letter usually is applied in the two seater trainer versions.
The F-117B sacrifices some fuel capacity in exchange for a second trainer’s seat, but otherwise retains full combat capability.

[CONCEPT]



This is the F-117C (sometimes also referred as F-117B) is an all-around improvement in the F-117A (and F-117SD) with the addition of some Air-to-Air capabilities.


The F-117C was an evolved version with redesigned air intakes, newer avionics, better engines, and a clear-glass cockpit.
This variant is also derived from the SD variant, meaning it has the same weapons bay layout.

(Note: For this unit and other late evolutions it was attempted to recreate them as accurate as possible, however they still have some degree of speculation as all the material gathered is most of the times inconsistent)

[CONCEPT]



The F-117N is the Navalised version of the F-117 and is capable of takeoff and landing in carriers.


The F-117N is a proposed carrier-borne version of the Nighthawk, the “Seahawk” boasts carrier-strengthened landing gear, radically redesigned wings and arrestor hook, as well as a new semi-corrosion resistant paint surface. Hardpoints have been added under the aircraft, adding combat load but removing stealth capabilities if necessarily. Additionally, the engines have been replaced by newer models, and the canopy has been modified to increase visibility.

[CONCEPT]



The A/F-117X was a late-life variant of the Seahawk that added air-to-air capability as well as an advanced electronics suite. Performance has been upgraded by recycling engines used in the F/A-18E, and overall combat rating has improved greatly.


The A/F-117X is the final evolution of the F-117 family, it is capable of outrun and outmaneuver any other previous variant. While it still a strike aircraft, the weapons selection a capabilities makes and an interesting fighter.
Also this is the only F-117 variant that has TVC engines and afterburner. Other noticeable characteristic is that this version has the wings filled with flaps, allowing it to move at slower speeds than any other version.

[CONCEPT]




This is a fictional missile derived from the real AIM-9P, this missile was made to be able to fold inside the small stealth aircrafts like the Echo and hopeless diamond.
Specs wise, is identical to the AIM-9P except it takes only bit longer to start maneuver due to the unfolding fins.


As the addition F-117 and inevitable inclusion would be the weapons bays.
Until now it wasn’t possible to fully recreate weapon storage inside the aircrafts’ weapons bay or connect weapons to the model animation bone.
With this ability also opens wide range of crazy possibilities that may be addressed by some future fictional unit.

During the implementation of the weapons bays, it appeared an expectable problem, if the player gives the order to fire the missile, this makes the doors to open and fire the missile as soon as it is possible.
But if it was given multiple fire request, this would make all the missiles fire all the same time. Although this is may not be serious problem, but it would force to overwrite the desired fire rate the player had in mind.

To fix this, it added as cached input for weapons fire. Now, if you double tap to fire both missiles, the game will remember the fire interval and it will execute that same interval as soon the doors finish opening.

Also in this update the Su-47 and Su-74 have been upgrade to use the weapons bay, but not every weapon in their selection is stored inside.
Here is a game screenshot of the Su-47 using the weapon bays:

Note for modders, the weapons bay was added in a way that preserves compatibility to all previous made costume textures.
This addition also means that in the future can be applied more emphasis in the addition of bomber type aircrafts.

Still associated to the weapons bays, although at first glance this may seem unrelated, with this addition it is also now possible to add weapons on the variable sweep wings, as this required the weapons and weapons pylons to be attached to the bones of the unit mesh.


Finally the biggest addition of this update is undoubted the stealth mechanic.
This system is quite complex but at the same time very simple to use, but the best part is that it largely expands the tactical possibilities in every mission.

To help the player be aware when it’s out of the vision of event radars it is displayer in the hud “UNDETECTED” just below the speed indicator.

This how the stealth mechanic works:

  • For detecting units there will be two ways, by radar waves and heat, the attacking unit just needs to successfully detect in one of those two. So if a unit is has very low radar visibility but normal thermal visibility, that stealthiness can be easily nullified against a unit equipped with an IRST (although the heat detection systems are usually far more limited in range).
  • Other important point is distance, even if a unit is undetectable in the radar at distance, the closer it gets the more sensible to lower values that radar also becomes. This also means the opposite, larger units like bombers can be detector at far greater distance than normal fighters.
  • The attacker detection capabilities are not 360 degrees, both systems have limited field of vision, so the units have to look at the direction they may expect to be the enemies.
  • The visibility values are dependent of the orientation of the defender unit, this means is far easier to detect by heat an aircraft if looking from behind.
  • External loadout affects the unit visibility.
  • Weapons bay open and landing gears deployed (when implemented) will affect the visibility values.
  • The preserve the same gameplay feel that has been until now, by default there will be a threshold of visibility values, if the aircraft has values higher that that it will be show on the global radar as usual. This threshold can be deactivated or changed if need in any mission.

(These bullets are the same as the previous report, an in detail description of how the stealth works will be featured only later to avoid making this report even more extensive than already is).
Note: some campaign missions and AI have been slightly tweaked to make better use of the stealth mechanic


Awards have been added for quite some time, but until now it was available in a few quantities.

That collection has been expanded with the addition several dozens of new awards.
Also, there are now awards exclusive for campaigns, battle scenarios and skirmish.
This new awards will take in consideration the game and all the data can be easily modified, while some are the usual for this kind of games, others explore that fact, so have fun figuring out how these conditions can be more easily fulfilled.


A small addition but it will have a greater effect in the future, battle scenario modes now saves the mission data, meaning it can save your best records in the survival mode and Doppelganger Battle.
This is to prepare the battles scene mode for future missions that will use this record save to make the player more interested in challenging himself


This Directional Damage Mechanic was more an afterthought for this update, but with a fairly simple system made this update even more sizable and interesting.
Although localized damage is still a possible implementation in the future, this new mechanic is somewhat similar and still adds another layer of strategy in battles.

The idea is quite simple; every unit has different resistance values to damage depending of the direction of the impact/explosion.


For aircrafts aiming toward the front of the aircraft is the most effective place, as a result, in a dogfight, fighting head-to-head is now more rewarding but also much more dangerous.


As for tanks, the front of the unit is the one that has more armor and the top is the weak spot, as it usually is where the armor is thinner.


As for Destroyers and boats in general, the bottom is the weak point. But it is important to note that for now there are no torpedoes or other projectiles capable of inflicting damage directly from above, so it is very unlikely for them to be hit their weak spot.
But as tip for the players, shooting the hull will still deal more damage than any other place.

These are the usual values for this type of units, although it is possible to define unique values to a specific unit.
Custom units without theses values will have 100% damage in all directions.


While it is not anything exceptional it was still added some new mutators in this update that change the gameplay rules.

No Directional Damage – The damage is always the same, regardless the direction of the impact.
Joust Battle – Only head-on attacks deal damage.
No Stealth – removes the Stealth mechanic, and detections is processed the same way as it did before this update
Blind spots – removes the out of focus detection, meaning the units are only capable of detecting units in front of their field of vision

I hope you all enjoy this new update and looking forward to hear your opinion about these latest additions, you will also have plenty of new units to try out and if you are interested, there is much more awards to attain.

Note: (this is important) there is some testing and tweaking left to be done, so this update will only be uploaded in a few days, it is almost certain that this update will take bit more time than usual to be available. I thank you for your patience in advance.

  • Added Stealth Mechanic
  • Added Directional Damage Mechanic
  • Added Weapons Bay system
  • Added Battle Scene Saved data
  • Improved Award System
  • Fixed various bugs and issues

 

  • Added ECHO
  • Added Hopeless Diamond
  • Added Hopeless Diamond (intermediate configuration)
  • Added Near Have Blue
  • Added Have Blue HB1001
  • Added Have Blue HB1002
  • Added Senior Trend
  • Added F-117A
  • Added F-117SD
  • Added F-117B
  • Added F-117C
  • Added F-117N
  • Added A/F-117X
  • Added AIM-9PS Missile
  • Added More Awards
  • Added More Mutators

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.

Tutorial 007:UGB creation (Part2: Mapping)


This tutorial is part of a series of tutorials that will portrait every step from the creation to the implementation of the FAB-500-M62 bomb in the game.

In the previous tutorial we done the all the modeling, now it is time to move to the mapping

As mentioned in the first part, this tutorial will explain in detail the whole process to help even the most inexperienced modelers.


After the modeling is completed, select the bomb model and in the “Modifier List” choose “UVW Map”


Then, select The “Box” and write the same value in the 3 fields bellow, the value have to roughly encapsulate the entire model.
The reason of this value being the same in the three fields is to avoid having mapping distortion latter on.


After configuration the “UVW Map” go to the “Modifier List” chose the “Unwrap UVW”.


Then click in the “Edit” button.


After clicking in “edit” it automatically opens a new window. This is the “edit UVWs” window and it will be used organize the model’s UV mapping.
As you can see, at this moment there is a group of lines clustered in a way that resembles the model. Our next step is to organize all these surfaces in a clean and easy way place the bomb texture in them..


First, let’s break this cluster of lines in order to be able to see what surface they represent.
One of the ways is to move them as faces. To choose that control, click in the right mouse button and select “Face”.


Then select some surfaces. (The selection was made in the “Edit UVWs” window, but the same selection can also be done in the Viewports)


After selecting a group of faces, click again in the right mouse button and then clink in “break”, this breaks the connection of the selected faces with others , this way we can move the surface without dragging and distorting other faces.


Then move the selected group of faces to an empty space.


After moving, click again in the right mouse button and chose the “Edge” control.


Now, it is time to start organizing this part of the model.
As the body of the bomb is a cylindrical shape, what we want to do, is to select a lateral face and start unwrapping along the surface.
For that select one of the vertical edges in the borders. (By default, the green lines mean they have a broken connection)


After selecting that edge, click again in the right button and select “Stitch selected”.


As you noticed some faces moved and become attached to that edge.


Continue doing the same until the last edge of the strip is the one that connect to the starting edge.
(you will notice this when the starting edge turn blue after selecting the last edge)


Now, select some of the horizontal edges above and “stitch selected” to attach the faces that belong to the tail of the bomb.


Let’s ignore the body of the bomb for just a moment, now, move out of the way the tip of the bomb that came along when we moved that initial group of faces to an empty space.


Now onto the body again, let’s select “vertices” control after clicking the right mouse button.


Now select one of the vertices of the perfectly vertical edge.


Copy the value of the first field (while it says U, it represents the usual X position)


Select all vertices of that border, including the one we copied the value.


Then paste the value in the same field, as you may noticed that line has become completely strait.


Do the same to all other vertical array of vertices.


Now let’s focus again in the fuse of the bomb that we moved to other place before.


The first make all lines completely vertical by the method of copy paste the U position, then “stitch selected” all green lines unit the last lines can only be stitched together.


Let’s move out of the way the planar fin, for now we don’t want to do anything with it.


Select one of the faces.
In this image, you can see that some faces are on top of each other, it is best that we organize it in a way that we can perceive what we are doing.


To do that, click in the right mouse button and chose “Brake” while keeping that face selected


Move that face to an empty position


Perform the “Stitch selected” routine as usual


Now we have a complete strip (as you can see the end in red can only be connected to the end in blue, so we don’t what to do that or those faces will become distorted.)


Now, there are some faces left in that cluster, they belong to the other side if the cylindrical fin. To arrange them with the others, select the top horizontal edge from the organized strip and make “stitch selected”.


Continue with the “stitch selected” until all the faces are positioned.


Now it is time to make those vertical lines perfectly strait, use the usual copy/paste of the U values.


With that done, the UV mapping is almost complete. (notice that we didn’t do anything to the planar fin.)


To complete the process, right click in the “Unwrap UVW” just below the “Modifier List” and chose “Collapse all”


Now select the “Element” selection control and click in the planar fin.


Then select the “UVW Mapping” in the “Modifier list” but this time keep the mapping to “Planar” and set the same values as before.


Then use “collapse all” in the “UVW Mapping”


After the collapse chose “Unwrap UVW”.


The planar fin is placed in the center, notice how it only has white lines, that is because it doesn’t have any broken face, we will keep that way for this weapon because it will have the same texture detail in both faces


And finally, the last step of the UV mapping is to fit everything in that blue lined square.
For that, let’s start by rotating counter clockwise the body of the bomb and move it to inside of the square.


After moving and rotating all the surfaces, they are now packed as tightly as possible, however they still go beyond the blue borders of the square.


In order to fit, we have to scale down, that scaling can be done by selecting the “Freeform Mode”, then left mouse click and hold in the upper right point of the freeform square and while holding also press the keyboard “ctrl” key and then move the mouse to shirk the size until it fits inside.


With that done, we have the UV mapping complete, the only action that needs to be done more is saving that mapping to an image file so it could be used in the texture creation.
To do that, open the “Tools” and then click on “Render UVW Template”.


A new window appears, for a bomb weapon an image size of 245×256 pixies is more than enough. Then click in the “Render UVW Template” button.


A new window appears with the desired texture. Save it on your desired folder but as a “png” file.


As Uv mapping is done, the next step is the light mapping.
The light mapping is a step that saves how the model is illuminated in a specific lighting condition
This step is purely optional, but with just a few clicks it can help making the textures a lot more interesting, so it is highly recommended.


If you still have the “Unwarp UVW” active there click in it and then “Collapse All”


Then select the planar fin and click in “Detach” button.


Be sure it doesn’t be detached as a clone and then click in ok.


Now rotate 45 degrees to the desirable position. In that place, hold the “shift” keyboard and rotate again, but this time 90 degrees.
After releasing the mouse key it will open a new window about the clone creation, create it as a “Copy”.
Repeat the process two more times to have in total four planar fins.


Then select the bomb again and click in “attach” button and apply to just one planar fin.


With that done, go back to the “Create” tab and select all bomb related objects (do not select the plane with the reference image)


Click in the right mouse button and chose “Hide Unselected”.


In the “Create” tab, chose the “Lights” button below and plane a “Skylight” in the perspective viewport.


Now select the bomb model again.


Right click and go to the “Object Properties” and disable the “See-through” option


Then open the material editor by pressing “M” and chose and unused material


Apply that material to the bomb.


Now with just the bomb model selected (with only one planar fin attached) open the render to texture window by pressing the “0” key.
Then click in the “Add” button.


In the new window that opens choose “LightingMap” and then click in “Add Elements”


Set the same image size as the “Render UVW Template” (that was 256×256 pixies) and then click in “Render”


The PC will start rendering the image (and may take a while). After it is done, it will appear in a new image, save that image in the desired folder as a “png”

And this concludes the UV mapping and light mapping; the next part will be showing the texture creation.