Ok so have you ever heard one of your friends tell a story about their day that just had a series of almost unbelievable events as an excuse for being late?
Get comfortable and listen up.
So yesterday I got roped in to helping pick up a 12ft x 6ft (3.65m x 1.85m) Slate bed snooker table by my Step-Father. My Mum and he, have a house in western France and its their dream to retire there. And part of his dream at least includes this snooker table (Its a big house). So he bought it on Ebay from a Conservative Club in a town about 30miles from where he lives.
The snag is we had to pick it up within a 3 hour window on Wednesday and we had to load it ourselves. Thankfully it was already disassembled. Well the table is made up of five, two hundred kilogram slabs of Welsh Slate and another one hundred and fifty kilos of Oak. And hes 64 and I have a bad back. Cue comedy image... nah it actually went quite well upto this point. Well it did start snowing before we left at 0930 and by the time we arrived at the club there was about an inch of ice and snow on the ground. Oh and did i mention the entrance to the club is on a big fecking hill? No, well it was. I had to get out and clear the snow off and spread some grit before we could park up.
So we loaded up, the lads in the club helped and we set off in my step-father's crapped out 15year old Ford Transit that spends at least 300 days of the year pretending to be a large rusty blue garden shed. Its snowing really hard now, thick, huge flakes and a biting wind that chills you right to the bone and the heater is blasting away. We come down out of the Pennines and get onto the motorway. All going smooth so far...
...then it cuts out. The engine, radio, heater, lights everything just dies in the middle lane climbing up a long hill. We went from 70mph to ~30mph in just a few seconds. My step-father managed to get it over to the hard shoulder and we sat and looked at each other. So I ask him, "Who's your break down service with?"
"I don't know." he replies. Good start this. I should point out that my step-father and I do not get on very well. We've never hit it off as they say.
"You do have cover though" I say.
"Yes", he says, "But its with my old bank". Oh shit I think.
So long story short I take a guess an ring Green Flag and they send a local firm to come get us. Hurray, I think. So we spent 45 minutes sat by the side of the road rapidly freezing in the cab of a knackered old van that's got more holes in it than chicken wire and a side door that doesn't shut properly. Held closed with a padlock with an alarm that permanently makes a sound like a Geiger counter ticking near a Russian nuclear power plant.
The tow truck arrives and we get out and he hooks the van up and lifts the front wheels. At this point he realises that the rear of the van is very low to the ground. He asks the next obvious question. "What've you lads got in the back of the van?"
"A snooker table" we say.
"A slate one?" he asks.
"Yes", we say.
"No fucking way" he says and unhooks us. He was very nice about it. But hes not going to take the risk towing us with so much weight in the back. We need a bigger tow truck says he. We've got to wait another 45 minutes at least. We just spent 20mins on the side of the freezing motorway in howling wind and freezing sleet and snow. Back in the van we go. An hour later the second, large tow tuck arrives. A nice big flat bed. No problem, they load the van and we hop in and off home we go.
Now as I mentioned it's snowing and as any British citizen will tell you when it snows our roads turn to ice rinks and everyone drives like a granny. It's got nothing to do with the fact no one prepares for the winter weather or knows how to drive in snow. Honest.
So it takes an hour to drive the 20-25minute journey home, arriving at about 1545. Where there is 4 inches of snow. At this point I should explain we live at the foot of a long steep and famously ice prone hill. Parked cars either side of the road and off we go (we did give he a choice of an alternative drop off spot but he said he could make no probs). A few near misses. Im talking the width of a credit card kinda misses here and we get down to the bottom of the tarmac hill and unload.
We say our thanks, and wave the Tow truck off. Only they aren't going anywhere, wheels spinning and ice and snow spraying up but no traction. They're stuck. So off I go again and get a shovel and a bag of salt grit. Thirty minutes later I've cleared and gritted about 20m of the road and they manage to get enough speed up to get moving...
... with a final wave I start to walk home. BANG, Tinkle, tinkle... I keep walking...quickly and don't look back.
Wasnt me, I didnt see nuffink guv, not a blind f'ing.
On the way past our van I check to see it locked. The rear door was open and would not lock (central locking only on this model) and with the battery flat I'm screwed. Off I toddle for some tools to liberate the battery so that I can charge it up. Only the socket wrench is too big to fit in the space available under the seat. Joy, 30 mins with a pair of pliers and a flashlight and I managed to get the restraining strap off and lift out the battery.
Its time for a brew while the battery charges.
An hour later and I'm back out in the freezing snow and sleet shower with the battery. All connected up and the door lock securely. Just out of morbid curiosity I try to start it and it catches. Meaning we can move it the final 50m to our house.
And that my friends is why I didn't post this update last night. I was absolutely freezing cold, tired and I honestly could not be arsed.
So this week's update:
Surprise! Its a J-10A. This has been my stress relief for the last month or so. As I've said in earlier post the proxy doubling bug has been driving me nuts recently so I started this because I was so pissed off I just wanted something nice and simple to do that did not involved chasing down bugs. Which is about 99% of all the outstanding live projects.
So yes I know its yet another "new" project and why haven't you finished the Tornado etc instead but guess what kids. its my free time and I'll spend it how I like so naaaaaahh!
Besides Its not really wasted is it. So far this has been a joy to work on. i've even enjoyed making the texture for it. Which is a first for me.
So its a Chinese fighter, which is also a first for RKSL but I rather like it and I've always wanted to make one. Aaaaaand i wanted one for IAP.
The justification for the IAP thing is pretty simple.
As it stands most of the African nations have older soviet era types that will probably be defunct by the IAP timeline of 2020+.
Given the timeline its not impossible that China might have some spare J-10As to donate to the poorer ASA nations and FC-20s to sell to the richer ones.
Few of the existing aircraft operated by the ASA nations are comparable to more modern Western types and with the Chinese connection in the story line an ex-PLAAF J-10A and the more modern export FC-20 aka J-10B seemed like a logical choice to balance Typhoons, F-35s and F-16s.
The Chinese PR machine would have you believe its a match for the Typhoon and other Generation 4.5+ aircraft. Personally I doubt it given the stated thrust rating and mass etc but I reckon its comparable with the earlier F-16C and Mirage 2000 era types. Still not a bad plane.
You can read all the specs and history for yourselves on the Wikipedia page But its got a capable suite of Air-to-Air weapons together with an equally capable if a bit limited range of Air-to-ground guided weapons. It should fit in well with the AI's ability to fly. (No hard to use weapons)
Given how well it's progressing and in-light of several recent fixes for the Typhoon I may well release this for ArmA2 as well as ArmA3. I've really only got some of external details and the cockpit to do and it should be ready to go not too long after the updated Typhoon and Helicopters are released.
As with the latest Typhoon we'll be providing plugin and texture templates for those that want to create your own skins.
Oh yeah and my step father ordered the Chinese. The Yung-chow fried rice is actually quite good with the BBQ spare ribs.