This week rolled around fast. No sooner you finish writing one update and you need to write another. This week:
Typhoon updates: Part 1.
A Typhoon update was due to be released around the same time the official patch 1.60 came out. But the changes in 1.60 caused us unexpected problems. Well honestly the 1.1 Typhoon build was due ages ago (I’ve just checked its well over a year since we released the 1st build) but to my shame I have to use the tired and oh so common excuse: Life just got in the way. Things like work, moving house, more work, other models, beer the odd pizza, walking the dog. You know the usual stuff that gets in the way of your hobbies.
Anyway, the much promised 2.0 update is pretty significant. The time hasn’t been wasted. At least I don’t think so. Here’s the list of the biggest changes:
- More detail in the cockpit view.
- New MFD Displays
- Accurate HUD
- Improved AI handling (New Flight model)
- Improved animations (model.cfg)
- Improved scripting
- Pylon options
- Support for national plug-ins
- Rexeuk’s sounds now included (with full permission – thanks Rob)
The original Typhoon has/had some significant flaws. As I repeatedly get told, the AI couldn’t fly it that well and the sounds were “crap” and various other unhelpful critiques. I always thought BI’s sounds weren’t that bad myself. But alas I am tone deaf. Seriously, you don’t want to hear me sing in the shower, although unless you are female, slim attractive and possibly blind I’ve no idea what you would be doing in my bathroom listening to me sing anyway. Actually lets just leave that image alone, its getting a tad creepy. Right back to the quality of my singing, it’s rather like dropping a half a dozen bricks and a cat in a moving cement mixer. Lots of wailing, the odd screech all with random Doppler effects. My ex once said I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Even I have to admit she’s right about that. But I digress.
So as above, lots of changes the two most significant changes are the Flight model and HUD.
I really didn’t like the original displays. It felt a bit too “cartoony” for me so I rewrote them using the class mfd command in the config. It’s long winded, complicated, annoying and rife with limitations but it looks pretty good in the end. I went a tad OTT (Over The Top) with it, replacing pretty much every bit of text in sight and ive had some issues with the conditional sources/triggers but it does add a bit of something extra to the displays.
But the HUD is where all the work pays off. Some time ago BIS introduced a parallax effect to the pilot’s point of view by moving the aim point and camera around during manoeuvres. The problem is that it meant the aim point/crosshair moves. Making the HUD markings useless. BI’s solution to that was to move the entire HUD display with it. There is a whole thread devoted to the topic so I wont bore you by repeating it here but it had some undesirable effects. Mostly it was just annoying as F*@%. But it did mean we couldn’t use the MFD command as we had planned. BUT BIS were kind enough to give us the option to enable and disable it at will. This led to the options to create multiple layers of HUD. A static plate and a dynamic – parallax enabled - plate. Meaning the we now had the ability to display things like speed, altitude etc in the static plane and have the aim points and cues moving around to maintain accuracy. Its hard to see in the pictures but once you are in game and flying it becomes so obvious that you wonder how you lived without it before.
The other hugely significant change is the Flight model. This had to be changed mainly for the AI, they occasionally turned so sharply that they lost control and lets face it they were worse than useless at engaging threats. Especially air-to-air, corkscrew anyone? And this was my fault, in my never-ending-quest for realism I had tried to get an accurate pitch, roll and turn rate. And as far as we could see it wasn’t far off but the AI just could not deal with it. So I was forced to trim it down a bit. The “new” flight model is actually the result of nearly 2 months of AI testing – there is a whole series of blogs about Flight models planned for the future – part of which was an attempt at writing a large chapter of the “Aircraft addon bible” I seem to be writing (tutorials). The result isn’t what I would like but it works quite well for both AI and Players. Ballistic09 seems to have mastered it quite well in our PVP games. He keeps killing me anyway. (he cheats!)
So I’m going to leave it there for the moment. I’m starving, need a pee, I really want a beer and I have spent a large part of today trying to get a meeting with a guy that doesn’t seem to exist according to his receptionist. Despite the fact his name is on the building in one metre high letters. Tomorrow however, joy of joys, I get to stand up in front of a couple of hundred people and talk about Extended Enterprise and Remote Working in Modern Industry for 3 hours. It’s going to be so much fun I can just hear the snores already.