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About this blog

Formerly Known as "WIP Wednesdays".  Now its probably best to think of this as "When we get chance Wednesday".

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Rock

It's Greased.... errr... Foxhound?

 

 

 

Particularly slow progress from myself these last few weeks, work, life, relationships taking their toll on my free time, but regardless I've managed to crack on with a few bits and bobs since the last update and fixing up a few issues with the first Alpha that the team have been playing with.

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Most of the changes are of a visual nature; texture and rvmat aesthetics mainly concentrating on making the wagons feel more used, dirty and dusty, as well as being less shiney.

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Work has also been done on the damage and destroyed models, as well as the destructable tyres. Whilst these sort of features are pretty 'standard' on most addons these days, it's a first for me, so I'm particularly excited about getting them working :)

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And finally, I've also rigged up the randomised number plates. Again, a small detail, but again they were fun to set up and add that little extra visual 'oomf' to the wagons.

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There's been some mutterings about released dates, how much is there left to do, and the usual assortment of questions. There's a bunch of fiddly little things left to do, all of which are quite dull and time consuming and concern ironing out errors and bugs. The interior also requires some rvmats and the crew anims need finishing off as well.

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However, the Alpha is quite advanced, and rapidly approaching Beta at this time - whether that means we'll run a public Beta, like we have done with the Typhoons, or not is still being discussed, but with the onset of A3, we do want to get this out to you in its A2 form before starting on A3.

That's about it for me today!

Rock

After a three-ish year break its back. The website lives!

 

 

Today would have been a very big day. Ok so the unearthing of the - still slightly - incomplete website is pretty 'big' but I had planned to let the Typhoon 2.6 escape today. Unfortunately Ive had another week of meetings, some travel and desperate deadlines. And to top it all I've been putting together a quote for my dream 3D job.

Something had to give and its was Addons.

About the website
Ok so its not all there, somethings still need integrating so please bear with me while it get it populated and fully integrated. There are over 500 pages already and its still growing. I'm trying to get all the downloads sorted and the relevant documentation uploaded asap. Its slow going I'm afraid, I have so much work on right now I'm only managing an hour or so a day on the site so this might take me some time to get everything up and running.

I'm hoping to implement a proper Bug tracking/support system and a decent project tracker for the RKSL and IAP teams. Part of the system is there but I still need to write part of the bridging code. And free time is somewhat rare these days.

Hey-ho Its been a long, long, long week here in the RKSL bunker. So much to do and absolutely not time to do it. :evil: Which means very little visual news this week. But I've been trying to write the new Typhoon documentation with limited success. Work has delayed the release somewhat but it should be ready very very soon.

So with that little missive, Im off to bed and I'll post another something in a few days.

Rock

Rock

Ok so I'm traveling again. More precisely I haven't stopped traveling yet, at this rate I might never stop. I've made it home 9 nights out of 38 so far. Right now I'm in a Travel Lodge near Farnborough, I'm not alone either. My traveling companion this week a very hairy guy called Clive that could easily pass for Viking or maybe a Norse God if you squint at bit. (I have to say that since he's sat opposite watching me type.) Thankfully we are not sharing a room because I think he's just pulled the waitress. :lol:

Week 21 was a bit of a quiet one. The RKSL Website went live, its still not finished but certain dark and secretive things needed its services. But alas I was still on the road so I havent really had time to finish the Typhoon Package. Which is probably not a bad thing since the testers seem to be finding lot of niggly little things that i missed previously.

Soooo, Week 22, as mentioned I am yet again divorced from my main workstation and project drive. SO I'm cheating again this week. Another game of:

"Guess Who" #3

Obviously its the low poly model, Its not hugely accurate but I think its good enough to have some fun...
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The Usual Rules Apply:

  • RKSL/IAP/BETA Team members are banned from playing!
  • You only get three guesses and then you are out. Even if you send them by email, PM and post (Yes Chris this means you, you freaky stalker-person) :D
  • Guess correctly and accurately and you'll see some more pics.
  • If no one get its It will be shown as next week's WIP Wednesday.
Check out the comments below for the answer!
Have Fun
Rock
 
 
Rock

wk23_article.jpgSo another late one. Jet lag is a full on b!@%ch. I was so tired I walked off the plane and nearly all the way up the jetway still hugging the little pillow they give you sleep with. A rather lovely stewardess had to chase after me and retrieve it. Then a 2 hour schlep through customs, tube journey and another 3 hour train ride home and just as I walk through the door I get turned around and have to go back out again. I think its understandable that nothing much got done after that. I slept 21 hours straight. Well there might have been a few pee breaks...

OK so you want updates. Well this week covers so many active and possible projects that its possibly just too much to take in. The pic kinda gives this one away but Its an ejection seat. Its intended to represent a Martin-Baker MK10 ejection seat. As with most low poly things some accuracy has been sacrificed to make life more practical. Poly counts and a lot of baking of details etc but I think its good enough for this application.

The MK10 seat is a development of the MK9, introduced in the 1970's its a popular choice of escape system for many western aircrat. Wikipedia lists quite a few. I'm not sure its all that accurate ( The Eurofighter Typhoon actually uses a Martin-Baker Mk16A but the early prototypes did use the MK10B at one point) so take a few things with a pinch of salt but its a useful claim for us.

List from Martin-Baker.

 

"Take the hot seat"

This is the medium poly model with high-resolution textures that we're going to use to bake onto final low poly model.
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Eventually the Mk10 will equip quite a few RKSL Projects.

  • BAe Hawk 60/100/200
  • Panavia Tornado GR4
  • SAAB JAS-39 Gripen

Just to name a few. There are also a number of IAP aircraft that will use it. Right Im off to bed again. I'm seriously tired so I'll catch you all another day.

Have Fun
Rock

 

Rock

wk24_article.jpgSome updates just aren't all that visual.

Its been a rather odd week lots of travel, work, socks, unwrapping and textures but not really much I can really show you.  Well nothing that interesting anyway.  So this week its a quick run down-round up.

Before I go much further I need to say that the Typhoon WILL be released at the end of the month to coincide/support UK Armed Forces Day so sit tight and shut up about it Cool

Onwards and upwards...

 

BAe Hawks

  • Common textures - Think of this a base layer which all the textures will be drawn from.
  • Pylon Setups - As with Typhoon 2.6 all the possible pylon configurations are going to be supported.  Ranging from the "clean" to the 'almost impossibly well hung'.
  • Model.cfg - This was really only an update from ArmA1 standards but its now setup for ArmA2's animation sources and been tweaked a bit to make it all work smoothly.
  • Hawk Specific Stores - Pretty much every aircraft has something unique to them.  The Hawk has a number of fuel tanks and fairings specific to them and them alone.  Eg the modified fairings used on the Red Arrows and Training Aircraft.  I've managed to model nearly all of them now.

 

CBFASI's Patrol Boat

This got some attention some time ago now its finally getting some textures.  It's slow going but it is starting to actually look the part!

 wk24_01.jpg

The Ultimate Weed Killer

The rest of the week has been mostly laundry and trying to catch up on sleep.  And rebuilding a Oxford Allen Motor Scythe. This thing is lethal!  My step-father bought it to cut the tall grass at their house in France.  Typically since hes not mechanically minded (he was a civil engineer on the railways once up on a time) I got stuck with re-assembling it and getting it running.

wk24_02.jpg

The one pictured isnt the actual one we have.  But its raining outside right now and I cant be arsed to go get wet.  Its really over engineered in a very 1940's British way which is rather cool but its incredibly heavy and has absolutely no regard for health and safety.  When the engine is running the blades are constantly moving.  There is no brake, clutch or safety cutoff.  Once its running and in gear it just keep on moving. You have to either shut the throttle off or try and fight it back into neutral.  I have visions of it running off and eating its way through the trees!
 
I'll post video at some point. It should be good for a laugh.
 
Have Fun

Rock

Rock

British Armed Forces Day 2013

Saturday the 29th of June is UK Armed Forces Day

It seemed appropriate that since we benefit so much from the contributions of our (all of us are British subjects) Armed Forces that we help raise awareness and celebrate the work they do in our name.

To that end on Saturday the 29th at 15:00 BST we will be releasing not one! But two addons.

1 - Typhoon FGR4 v2.6
2 - Foxhound LPPV by Messiah

If you are a regular visitor to the RKSL Website or BI Forum thread you'll know quite a lot about both the Typhoon and the Foxhound. Well the time has come to release them into the wild!

Foxhound LPPV

The Force Protection Ocelot is a British armoured vehicle that has replaced the United Kingdom's Snatch Land Rover with British forces. It was given the service name Foxhound, in line with the names given to other wheeled armored vehicles in current British use, such as Mastiff and Ridgeback. The goal in replacing the Snatch Land Rover was to improve protection of personnel against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Which really wasnt hard since the Snatch was never intended to withstand those kinds of attacks.

I think Messiah has definitely outdone himself with this one. Considering this is his first addon since returning to addon making after 4 year break he's set the bar really high now and its going to be hard to keep up with him... but we're going to try!

wk26_001.jpg

I asked Messiah to describe the features for the Foxhound he just said:

Not really sure there are any features, per se, just adds a couple of Foxhounds :)

So with that I'll just say that, this is a BETA version and it comes in two colours: Tan and Green. Thats about it really.

wk26_002.jpg

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There are some issues with it, they are noted in the documentation, but those should be fixed in the next BETA or FINAL release.

 


EuroFighter Typhoon v2.6

Its finally ready. The long overdue and awaited update to the original BETA released nearly 3 years ago...

The latest build includes over 500 changes, improved handling, new loadouts and most visibly a new cockpit and HUD setup. The 2.6 package also includes a plugin system that supports every nation that currently operates the Typhoon but also allows the end user to create their own plugins and skins.

wk26_004.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We've tried to ensure that every Nation has a representation of their own Typhoon squadrons where possible. Some nations information isnt really that easy to find so we apologise if your national plugin doesn't represent every squadron or scheme available.

wk26_005.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With every nation represented and each plugin having about 20 loadouts and variations in the PBO thats about 140 options to play with! Should keep you lot quiet for a while.

wk26_006.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wk26_007.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a little boast here. I am absolutely confident when I say this is the only addon out that that has exploited the class MFD command to this level. With 5787 lines of code supporting 12 active 'panels' I know that no other addon prior to this has such a dynamic cockpit as this... and I have plans to go even farther in ArmA3!

wk26_008.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get counting guys... only a few days to go!

Rock

Phew... after a very busy release period for RKSL, we've finally found a little time to catch up on our lives, go on holiday, and enjoy the sweltering weather. Personally, it's been a relief to have gotten the Foxhound out as a public beta, and the feedback received has been fantastic, as well as some extremely useful bug reports and general wishes in terms of functionality and config. I'm working on a small update which should be finished soon, that will address some of the main items people responded about, and from there it's off to ArmA 3!

RKSL Studios Jackal Protected Patrol Vehicle

On the subject of ArmA 3 (and somewhat 2, depending on my time as ever), I've been tinkering in O2 once more, trying to make amends for my previous attempt at creating a Jackal. Now the UKF one wasn't horrendously bad, but looking back it left a lot to be desired, and with BAF introducing the Jackal 2, it did look rather dated. However, I felt the BAF could be improved on/corrected, as well as a few iterations added.

RKSL Studios Jackal Protected Patrol Vehicle

So, what actually started as a quick 'what can I model in 24 hours, purely in O2', has come a little further. The model is fairly complete, although there are a few items missing here and there, and the face count needs to be reduced a touch.

RKSL Studios Jackal Protected Patrol Vehicle

Eventually, I'll also be adding a lot more clutter and equipment, as well as the various weapon systems employed on the Jackal. We'd like to see it in both ArmA 2 and 3, but time will tell. As ever, these have been modeled completely in O2, just rendered in another program for added 'dazzle'.

Hope you're all having a great summer.

Messiah and the RKSL Team.

Rock

RKSL Studios J-20Ok so this is a revisit of an old project.  I've not had a lot of free time the last few weeks so this is something that should really have been posted in June. 

I was recently talking to someone about materials technology, specifically aerospace composites.  (We have some 'interesting' chats) We were originally discussing aeroelasticity in aircraft design, then we predictably got onto stealth technology. And of course, which is best etc.  F-22 vs the world kinda BS (More on that later) but the Chengdu J20 came up and then we finally got back on to addons...

Now when the J-20 first appeared on the public scene and the first pictures came out i started on a model.  I have a thing for exotic and unusual aircraft, so new tech demonstrators and projects always get my interest up. The original model I made turned out to be out of proportion in a lot of areas.  In my defence there weren't many actual pictures at the time but more have become available the last year or so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the original model I made in these WIP updates:

Honestly I wasn't unhappy with the model at the time, but it did just look "wrong".  So it got left behind.  Every time I went to pick it up it didn't feel right so I dropped it in favour of doing something more constructive. Finishing the Typhoon usually.  But in early June this year I came across some decent high-res pictures of the J-20 prototypes. 

Chengdu J-20

RKSL Studios J-20

They sparked my interest again. So I remade it:

RKSL Studios J-20

The original model just looked... well a tad anorexic.  At the time one of the original comments was "Give that plane a sandwich!"   As I said there weren't too many decent pics available at the time so I didn't have much in the way of reference material.  But armed with the new pictures it got more interesting and I spent a couple of days re-working the original model. 

But that didn't last long, I ended up remaking about 70% of it.

RKSL Studios J-20

RKSL Studios J-20

If you spend the time looking at the actual plane and then again at my model you can see the difference and why it needed an upgrade. I'm actually rather embarrassed about it. The proportions were terrible!  About the only thing I got right was the length.

RKSL Studios J-20

When I started making this i had no plans for it what so ever.   I just thought it was cool and wanted to make a J-20.  Now with IAP and other projects slowly maturing it seems like a it might just have a place in the story lines.  

With ArmA3 looming in the near distance this will definitely only be an ArmA3 project.  After the game goes gold we (RKSL) will probably make the jump over to the new platform.  That all for this week.

Rock and the RKSL Team.

Rock

RKSL3 Logo

So BIS have released all the tools, Rock's got his life back and has an internet connection that actually works 24/7 and is actually faster than the Postman...So we're back.  After a 6month hiatus for personal reasons things have finally settled down and we're slowly starting to pick up where we left off.  To that end I am delighted to announce that we will soon(tm) be releasing the ArmA3 native Typhoon v3.000.

Look whats coming

All the joys of ArmA3 features and the usual RKSL ones...

  • Fully working mirrors
  • BIS flares
  • Engine & Smoke effects
  • PhysX support
  • Tweaked Flight model
  • Improved Air Weapons Pack
  • All previous ArmA2 plugins brought over to ArmA3

And a few more...

Look whats coming

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will WIP Wednesdays be returning?
A: Yes but only once at the end of each month.  As much fun as they were they turned into a bit of a monster in terms of time to prepare and publish. They took quite a lot of time away from the actual act of making content which wasnt the point.

Q: Will you be bringing all the old RKSL content over?
A: Yes, eventually.  One by one we will port the existing models over and include the new ArmA3 features.  The first releases will be direct ports with the basic A3 features etc.  Later releases will see improvements or in some cases new models.

Q: What about new content?
A: Yes there will be some new content but we are going to focus ont he stuff we have shown you already in the previous WIP Wednesdays.

Q: When are you going to release XXXXX addon(s)
A: If you've been hanging around in this community long enough you already know the answer to that.  If you are new... (Old timers all together now)... "When its done!!"  :P

Q: Whats happening with IAP? (Ilhas Africanos Project)
A: We'll create a new thread for that at the appropriate time.

Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

RKSL3 - IAP - Gripen So I've been spreading my time between getting things moved over to A3 and finishing off projects that were intended for A3. Right now this something of a delight. Just getting back into the swing of making models but also a break from the horrors of configs. Seasoned modders out there will know exactly what i mean when i say that. While A3 isnt a million miles away from A2 there is a lot of learn and work out. New Features to experiment with and new config bugs to squash.

I'm really not a coder or scripter. I just like making models... this is one of my favourites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAAB JAS-39C Gripen

Created at the end of the cold war and sharing a lot of features of the Typhoon and Rafale, the Gripen is the much cheaper cousin. It may cost less but it is arguably almost as capable. Which makes it almost perfect for balancing the Resistance forces against NATO and Former Soviet-bloc or the newer Chinese aircraft.

 

RKSL3 Gripen C

When I first started this model it was as a distraction. I had just spend nearly 4 weeks solid developing the HUDs and MFDs of the Typhoon. I need a break from coding and testing. This was it.

Oringally I was going to use it fro the IAP Government Air Force but as we developed the IAP story line it just did not fit in. We toyed with the idea that South Africa would be leading the ASA (OPFOR) for a while and discounted that pretty quickly. Just too contentious really so its technically "homeless" for the moment.

RKSL3 Gripen C

You will have seen screen shots from earlier attempts to get the model in ArmA2. There are quite a few on this site, but i've never quite had the time or drive to get the cockpit finished until recently.

The Gripen is actually a really small plane and the cockpit is actually quite small. But like most 4th Generation Aircraft it is actually quite sparsely populated. I started with the main console and bit by bit built up the components.

RKSL3 Gripen Cockpit

I'm going to revisit a lot of the Class MFD setup that i developed for the Typhoon with the Gripen but i also have a few more interesting ideas i want to try.

RKSL3 Gripen Cockpit

RKSL3 Gripen Cockpit

RKSL3 Gripen Cockpit

 

RKSL3 Gripen Cockpit

RKSL3 Gripen Cockpit

Its not finished yet but its getting there slowly... It might even be finished for next month's update.

 

Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

RKSL3 - Gripen Part 2 Last month I showed you all the new cockpit and the old A2 external textures this month I'm showing you the upgraded externals and some of the baked details.

We're are taking the view that the Gripen will probably be used by several other mods, given the number of requests we've had for it. So we're going to make it as paint kit friendly as we can. This isnt exactly as simple as it sound given that Rock is baking most of the textures and detail onto the low poly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step One is to get all the panel lines drawn in high resolution.

Step Two was to make high resolution textures for special areas. Things likes the afterburners, interior panels etc that wouldnt have a high texel count. (number of pixels per area) so that we could get as much detail in as possible. That meant we ended up with 11x 2048x2048 textures and about 20 hours of painstaking work. It should have taken half that but Rock was drinking the first night and it got a bit messy in places she he had to re-do some of it the next day.

Step Three is going to be baking those HR textures down onto 3 lower resolution panels for use ingame.

Each of the High Res panels covers a part of the aircraft:

  • Wings
  • Foreplanes
  • Fin
  • After burner
  • Engine Ring
  • Airbrake Liners
  • Landing Gear bays
  • Landing Gear
  • Glass Canopy
  • Misc Glass and Lights
  • Misc Metallic details

You can see from the shots below some of the high-res panels Rock used.

RKSL3 Gripen C

Rock has tried to get as much detail in as possible so when it bakes down onto a lower resolution texture you will be left with the faint impression of proper panels and rivets rather than clumsy thick lines in a low res normal map.  Something that we all believe ruins the immersion of the game.

RKSL3 Gripen C

By the way, the green panels either side of the rear fuselage are the internal airbrake detail. We've had to move them outside of the model so they bake onto the low poly model easier.

RKSL3 Gripen C

The Low poly/in-game version uses:

  • 3 external textures which include all the external detail, landing gear, afterburners etc.
  • 2 internal panels for the cockpit
  • 1 for all the glass on the model: canopy, light fittings, MFDs, formation strips everything.

Which with materials and the quirks of alpha layering equated to 11 sections this will hopefully improve ingame performance too.

RKSL3 Gripen C

Paint Kit Friendly

The intention is to bake all the panel lines on a white background to that they can be left on a layer in photoshop with a "multiply" blending option. This allows people to create their own camoflage on layers below that and still retain detail. And we'd then have the weathering and details on other layers for you to use. Or just remove so you can make your own.

RKSL3 Gripen C

Rock has already begun painting and detailing the aircraft prior to baking it onto the low poly model.

He'res a partial paint job...

RKSL3 Gripen C

And the fully textured version.  Please note we are going to leave things like the intake warnings etc. off the paintkit version so that people can make their own national versions with the warnings etc in their own language.

RKSL3 Gripen C

RKSL3 Gripen C

We're also taking advantage of Modo's rendering capabilities to produe the Ambient Occlusion and Specular maps. Which anyone that makes thier own will tell you is a pain in the arse to do by hand.

RKSL3 Gripen C

Finally, the addon really is ingame and we are testing the new flight model and various quirks of ArmA3's new features right now

RKSL3 Gripen C

 

RKSL3 Gripen C

Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

DK posted a few teasers over this last month. So its Chally2 time as promised. And a preciously unseen bonus. Well unseen if you arent part of several UK themed Game Units. The AS-90 makes its first 'proper' public outing.

Right, basically DK has taken over the entire Challenger MBT project. Taking the unfinished, undetailed base model that Rock made way back when and started fixing it up. Changing so much that it may as well be a new model. And hes been cracking on with the AS90 too. More of that later...

"Possibly one of the most anticipated addons in the ArmAverse".

RKSL3 Chally 2

There are three or four other people out there making Challenger 2s. We started making ours aaaaages ago, so why stop now?

Anyway, as some will be aware DK is a real life Tankie and something of a detail-monkey wanted to pick up the challenge(r) and try to make one specifically for the RKSL and UKAF collection.

RKSL3 Chally 2

The model in the renders is obviously the Hi-Poly version. Coming in at nearly 100,000 faces its a bit of a beast even before he's gotten around to detailing the turret. As you can imagine with over 30,000 faces in the tracks alone its never going to get in game like that but it will be used to bake the detail onto the Low-poly models.

DK has gone to town getting in as much detail as he can before poor Rock has to unwrap and texture it all.

RKSL3 Chally 2

"Have you ever seen an arse like that!?"

The aim of course is to get it down to about 16-22,000 faces but we will be using proxies for extras and misc detail.

RKSL3 Chally 2

 


 

The bonus bit here is the AS90

DK was working on this for a while before joining the RKSL Team but he needed a little help "to get it that last mile" as they say. Kiory had been helping with all the rigging and the track model and textures.

So when DK rocked up with a UV mapped and mostly textured model he got Rock to tweak the recoil anims...

RKSL3 AS90

The plan is to try and make an AI friendly version and then a more advanced Fire Control System later on. Together with a few other features.. :)

RKSL3 AS90

RKSL3 AS90

Rock being picky then decided to "fix" a few other things and re-bake the textures. So you could say that its one step back and hopefully a giant stumble forward in textures.

RKSL3 AS90

He managed to remap the turret uv tile with a higher texel count (pixels per area) so that should give us a much better normal map. It looks a bit naff right now but these are just bump mapped materials that will look quite a bit different after the baked normals are put in place.

RKSL3 AS90

It is obviously all very WIP but right now Rock says he is enjoying the texturing so hopefully it will all come together into something special... eventually.

RKSL3 AS90

RKSL3 AS90

Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

HolidayIts July and its holiday season... so we're going to have a break for a while and get back to you all when it cools down a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

PS This is late I know but its been a long month and we've all been enjoying the summer.

So on the principle of: "An picture speaks a thousand words" I'm going to shut up and let you look at the pics...

"Possibly one of the most anticipated addons in the ArmAverse".

RKSL3 Chally 2

RKSL3 Chally 2

RKSL3 Chally 2

RKSL3 Chally 2

RKSL3 Chally 2

 


Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

RKSL3 - Harrier GR9After a few weeks of muddy things we're back to working with aircraft again.  One of Rock's childhood favourites.  Harrier GR9.

He'll freely admit, all the recent ArmA2 Harrier ports inspired him to drag this model out of the archive and push to get it finished to an A3 "standard" (Im still not 100% sure what that really is Cool)

Returning to the principle of: "A picture speaks a thousand words" from earlier weeks.  How about a video with a few thousand words...Well Rock waffling for twelve minutes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit of a History Lesson

Rock first made a Harrier GR7 model in 2006 in OFP as a platform for a new VTOL system.  Originally for the OFP based 1982 Falkland Mod. It evolved into - for the time - a very complex scripted setup but as we continued development we also found out some MP issues.  Nothing too serious, but it definitely wasn't ready for public release and after several frustrated attempts to sort it out we both put it aside and focused on the Cargo System and other addons for the moment.  Sadly we never got back to it until ArmA2 with its native support for VTOL.  Even then I didnt have enough interest to re-visit it properly.

DON'T GET TOO EXCITED! I uploaded this video to illustrate a couple of features i'd like to bring to the new A3 Harrier.  We aren't going to directly port this particular system but you may well see the features shown here appear in the ArmA3 incarnations. 

The Harrier model, much like the real thing went through a number of incarnations before settling down and becoming a bit more stable. The model in the video below is V7.31.

  • 7.XX - because its the seventh model version.
  • X.3X - because its tweaked for A3
  • X.X1 - because its the first config version in A3

But it was remade, re-unwrapped and re-configured that even though it may look similar, over time it really did become a new model.  By the time you get it the completed addon will probably be marked 3.xx1 so its probably best not to read too much into any version numbers.  They mean something for me but it may not always be logical to you.

 

 

 More details will follow.  Have fun.


Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

IAP - Ilha Marrom

On time for a change!

Step change this month. Well not really but its the first time for a while we've mentioned IAP, islands and revisiting old ghosts.

IAP for those that dont know is short hand for Ilhas Africanos Project. Its a bastardisation of Portuguese for which I do apologise but if someone wants to put me right on the correct translation for African Islands i'd be forever grateful. Anyway IAP was/is/will be about creating a battlefield and OPFOR for community made National mods to fight against. Its ambitious, hugely complicated and fraught with politics and other "fun" things but it could just be great...Maybe...if the concept works.

If you build it they will come...

For us IAP was an antidote to large mod packs dominating the modding and MP scene driving out the small mod makers. Lets be honest, you are more likely to download a huge mod pack to actually go online play with your friends than you are a collection of 50+ addons, that you have to collect together and may not exactly work properly together are you?

IAP was/is intended to allow all levels of modders to get involved in a community project. The IAP team/contributers would provide a core island, some basic addons and a story line. The subsequent releases would then be episodes in the story line. A new set of addons, a chapter in the campaign and etc.

So the first stage of that is to provide an island to develop on. And this means buildings, addons, missions and the detailed story arcs. In the ArmA2 era RKSL released an ALPHA of the Ilha Marrom Island. The intention was to gather feedback abou the island's size. To stimulate some interest and see if we could get some collaboration going. It was a slow start, but a few people did join the effort and we made some progress. But the ArmA2 terrain tools weren't exactly collaboration friendly. A number of community made tools did ease the burden but It was still hard for several people to work on the same files without negative effect. I dont know how BIS did it, but four people working on populating a huge island space was rather challenging to say the least.

The game engine has changed

So time has flown. The game engine has changed and so have the available tools.

IAP - Ilha Marrom

I've been the owner of L3DT Pro for quite some time but its only been recently that i've really tried to use it in anger. Largely thanks to Spookygnu and Smokedog. Being sat on Teamspeak listening to them inspired me to bring Ilha Marrom out into the ArmA3-verse again. And L3DT was really the only tool seasoned terrain makers seemed to recommend. Atleast in the budget of a mere mortal.

A truely Combined Arms map

The original island was a lot flater than this version. I decided to change that because of some lessons I learnt playing with other groups on other large terrains. Blocking the longer view distances can sometimes help with performance and it can make it far more interesting for aircrew and CAS. Ilha Marrom, even before the IAP concept was properly formed was always meant to be a truely Combined Arms map. Large enough to support not only Fast jets and helos but to make artillery and logistics practical and actually necessary. But, its more about gameplay. The steeper terrain channels people into choke points and it provided some interesting scenerios.

IAP - Ilha Marrom

The heightmap is all hand drawn. Originally, in Daylon Leveler but the latest version was revamped and re-sculpted in L3DT Pro. The 3D scuplting and attribute painting tools make it a real pleasure to use compared to my old work flow. I absolutely hated making Sat-masks where every pixel drawn relates to a specific ground texture and material. Even then the output still, sometimes, requires a few tweaks in photoshop to get an output suitable for ArmA3's terrain builder to process. But its far easier than any other tool i've tried before.

WORK-IN-PROGRESS

Within a week i've got a basic-WORK-IN-PROGRESS satellite map and mask.

IAP - Ilha Marrom Sat map

Neither is close ot the final but its enough to get an alpha ingame for some early tests:

IAP - Ilha Marrom Sat mask

I've already got a lot of the zones mapped. Alot of these are key to the story line and will require quite a lot of custom buildings but i've been busy building for quite some time. And we do have some promises of "donations" and "trades" once we get to the proper stage. I'm really hoping XCAM will be publically available before then.

Town Planning

  • The blue zones represent larger urban/industrial areas. The density of these area will and does vary greatly.
  • The green - rural and farms
  • The yellow - Airfields & Airports
  • The Red - Military camps and areas

There will be of course numerous little hamlets and places to explore as well as some offshore easter eggs to find and explore. I'm hoping that once we get something fairly basic out into the public domain and maybe more tools become available we'll be able to get a larger group of people to help populate the island. I've already got a few people interested in helping.

IAP - Ilha Marrom Zones

The idea is to create an interesting, fairly realistic and varied island to base the story on. Then expand and develop.

Rock - October 29th 2014


Thats all for the moment. Keep an eye on the RKSL website for more details.

Rock

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I've chosen to be a bit quieter about what i'm doing because I seem to be getting shit no matter what i do.  

  • If i explain whats going on - "hes just bragging and teasing us...he'll never release anything."
  • If I stay quiet - "RKSL is dead i told you he'd never release anything."

Both of these just remove any motivation to do anything public again.  And lets face it its not like you bought anything from me.  You've never contributed to me and mine for the time we invested.  So my own opinion/theory about whiners/whingers and abusive critics...you must have absolutely no life and probably very small genitalia to get so angry about a computer game mod.  Just saying...

The reality here can be represented quite simple formula:

    (Hours in the week) - (Work + Commute/Travel time + Social Life + Sleeping + Household chores) = Free Time.

So we then need to factor in the the esoteric variable of Motivation.

    (Abuse / 2) *  ((interest in ArmA3) / Fatigue)) = Motivation

You can also express this another way:

    Abuse / (F@#%s given) = Motivation

Combining the two derived values we come down to the simplified expression:

    Free time * Motivation = "Free Time to Mod"

So the bottom line is When Free Time to Mod is a lower value, very little gets done.  No amount of abuse and little dicked people screaming and making up BS stories and fantasies about what i am doing right now only impacts motivation of public releases.

So in one last attempt at being open...  Here is an honest statement of what i'm thinking right now.

General Issues:

  1. Hold everything and release an RAF Faction?
    1. Then an Army Faction
    2. Then an RN Faction
  2. Or Release individual addons?
  3. Make everything and release a complete Mod Pack?
    1. Possible release in tiers? More on this as a blog post coming soon.
  4. Why don't beer bottles self replenish?
  5. Can I design a beer delivery system to my chair? 
  6. Photoshop on my main system seems to be having a bit of a wobble and quits working at inconvenient times.
  7. I've learnt a tonne of new tricks and techniques which make some of the other models seem too complicated/ugly/clumsy.
  8. I really don't seem to be able to write some of the scripts I want to.  Looking for other solutions soon.
  9. I'm spending a lot of time travelling and working again so baking textures on a Surface Pro4 isn't always practical.

Technical Issues:

  1. Planes - I've run into a the issue of the upcoming planes DLC.  I've been playing with the Dev build and I'm tempted to hold back until the DLC to release so i don't have to do everything twice.
  2. Helos & PhysX - I've ported all the helos into A3 now.  Some with retractable landing gear seem to have an issue with placement in Eden.  The wheels are retracted on placement so it takes damage instantly.  I haven't found a solution yet.
  3. Hidden Selections/Texture swaps seem to work fine on the first or second lods then revert to what ever the base colour is... on the upside I might have accidentally found a way to make adaptive camouflage...:P
  4. Testing - My own Dedicated server isn't really up tot he task or testing for large numbers.  need to address that too.

And finally because I believe that if you cant change someone's perception of you by explanation you should just treat them exactly how they expect you too.

Here is the prebake model for the HAM aka MAN Trucks I've been working on since i got back from the UAE this earlier week.

Doesitlookdeadtoyou.JPG

So is RKSL dead?  

No.  

Is Rock motivated?

To make things I want to make and how & when I want to make them?  Then Yes.  

Does Rock care about the petty abuse/insults/demands/lies/BS being spread by certain people in the ArmA3 community?

F@#k no, but I am tired of hearing about it.

Are we all Happy now?

:)

Rock

163277.jpg OK, so its snowing in parts of the UK.  And for a change its actually stuck.  Which means this country is in total Chaos.  I don't know what it is about the UK population and snow that they lose the ability to drive, but that's just the way it is here.  So in response to this embarrassing situation, I'm staying in doors for the duration.

Which in turn means I either paint my hallway (which isn't going to happen) or i spend the day trying to work out how to accurately calculate all the necessary config values for a Helicopter in ArmA3 without the proper SDK from RTDynamics.

Love it or hate it the ArmA3 Advanced Flight Model is here to stay.  And once mastered its actually a lot more fun than the basic flight model.  Far more satisfying to prove you have the real skill to fly properly than just fake it?

Before we go any further lets address the aerodynamic representation of the Cow in the room.  What does it mean?  Why is it relevant?

The Answer?  It just made me laugh.  Its the inspiration for writing this article simply because the absurdity of the image gels nicely with my feelings toward generating a practical config for the ArmA3 Advanced flight model.

So for the last year or so I've been banging my head on my desk trying to work it all out and get all my helicopters up and working with it.   This has led to some ...interesting craters on the various A3 Islands.  But hey, its all leading towards progress. 

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

rock-efa.jpgI used to be, I'm going to say, a pretty decent Aerospace Engineer back in the day.  But even way back when I did get my hands dirty in CADDS5 and Catia some of the maths related to Aerodynamics scared the crap out of me.  

This article is not an all out Tutorial.  Not even close.  Lets think of it as the start of discussion.  I'm going to share some things I've found along the way.  If you have a better way to do something, or If I've gotten something wrong.  SHOUT it out and we can all move on and learn together.

For those that don't know much about the flight dynamics of ArmA3 helicopters, this isn't going to make much sense.  For this that do know something about ArmA3 Helicopters this may make some sense...possibly. 

 

Step 1 - In your quest to lose hair and go gray early in your life.

My best advice is find a class of helo; eg: small, med, heavy and modify these the stock values.  There are some values you can calculate and others that require some mysterious and complicated voodoo incorporated into the RTDynamics SDK that we are not privy too.Simulink-Attitude-Hold-Cropped-Wide-e1314192224119.png

Step 2 - Research, maybe this should come first?

You will need to find some basic facts about your aircraft.

  • Dimensions,
  • engine specs,
  • mass,
  • rotor blade dimensions. 

Other values we are simply going to try and make an educated guess.

Step 3 - The joy of XML

So we've got our XML file open. You are greeted by a wall of text, figures and variables that  are both terrifying and baffling to all concerned. Some of the variables are easy to explain and find.  Others are a little more esoteric and mysterious.

xmldoc_1.JPG

You are going to see long tables of values as shown above with variable names like:

  • SideForceDueToSideslip
  • LiftDueToAoA
  • DragDueToAoA
  • DragDueToSideslip
  • itchingMomentDueToAoA - 
  • YawingMomentDueToSideslip
  • LiftDueToSideslip 

This is a calculated table of values.  My best advice is find a class of helo, small, med, heavy and use the stock values.  These are calculated by a RotorLib Plugin for MATLAB that on licensees have access to.  Since we don't have all the tools we are guessing.

BIS has provided a breakdown of the RotorLIB values as well as some of the formulas to create the values on the BIKI but it still isn't the most accessible read.

https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/Helicopter_Flight_Model_Config_(XML)

I'm not going to repeat everything in that BIKI article.  I dont see the point.  But some things need de-mystifying...and I don't have all the answers but i am willing to share 

We are going to focus and the values we can find online or in manuals or calculate from known values. MOM-diagram.JPG

  • Mass - Obvious really. This is the (I believe) empty weight of the helicopter.  I'm basing this off values seen in the Littlebird and KA60 configs etc
  • MomentsOfInertia - Ixx, Iyy, Izz, All these are unique to your helicopter type.  They will change based on the dimensions and mass of the airframe relative to the "allup" Center Of Gravity (CoG)
  • Engines:
    • emergencyPowerHP
    • maxTorque
  • DriveTrains
    • TorqueLimits emergency
    • Load gearRatio Main Rotor
    • Load gearRatio Tail Rotor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm in the process of writing an excel spreadsheet to help calculate all the values we are going to need.  But its a long slog

Rock

Mmmmmmhhhmm M3M

Ok so this is proving to be a pain in my ass.  Among the many other issues I'm fighting atm is the joy of animating ammo feed belts in Arma3.

If you've never tried to do complex compound animations you probably won't understand the frustration.  If you have you are probably looking at the picture and thinking, 'masochist'.

RKSL M3M Mounted for the Wildcat.

IF THIS IS SO HARD, WHY BOTHER?

Simply because its such a big visual feature of the AW159 Wildcat and AH9A.  This huge .50 Cal monster, stuck like a limpet, on the side of the helicopter is a visually striking and intimidating thing and I think it deserves and needs to be done properly. 

... at least in my sleep deprived mind anyway.

4830087927_3c128d4001_o.jpgTHE NEXT GENERATION OF 50CAL

The M3M Machine gun was brought in to British service to improve the effectiveness of the Lynx series of helicopters.  Equipping the Royal Navy's HAS3 and HMA8 naval Lynxes, Merlin HM2 as well as the British Army's AH9As in Afghanistan.

The first British M3Ms to see service were mounted on the RN's airframes for drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean.  Where more than a few Drug Runners in Go-Fast Boats got a bit of a wake up call.

The M3M is made by Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FN Herstal) the M3M system also features a soft pintle mount, spade grips, a feeding chute connecting the gun to a 600-round ammo box and a spent round chute. Classic iron sights are fitted on this gun. But night vision or other optical sights can also be fitted above the spade triggers.

Chambered in the classic .50BMG (12.7x99mm) the M3M is a single barrel rapid fire machine gun specifically designed for helicopters.  Firing 1100 rounds per minutes out to a range of 2000 meters the M3M is an advancement on the classic Browning M2, thanks to a new open-bolt and dual recoil buffer design the weapon doesn't pass as much vibration to the airframe as the M2 does which makes using it on helicopters of all sizes so much easier and less dangerous for the aircrew.

A BIGGER PUNCH OVER THE GPMG

The first M3M equipped Lynx AH-9As were airlifted out to Afghanistan in May 2010 and begin support operations soon after.  This was the culmination of an 18 month Urgent Operation Contract that saw the upgrade of the AH9 airframe to improve the aircraft's "hot and high" performance as well at the attack and ISTAR capabilities of the type.  Something closer the spec of the Wildcat that would eventually come to replace it much later.

Previously the largest caliber weapon the Lynx could mount was the 7.62mm GPMG machine gun.  The addition of the M3M meant that the AH-9A could now be used to escort troop carrying Merlin and Chinooks freeing up the British Army's Apaches to prosecute more pressing targets and support Troops in Contact elsewhere.

COUNTING RIVETS

Before the rivet counters (yes I am usually one too) chime in and start to heap criticism; yes there is some missing details.  This is because i'm trying to work out the basic functions and animations first.  Full detailing and fiddly bits will all come later.  Assuming I survive animating the ammo feed channel so it moves properly with the turret.

And before people start to moan about specific of gun mounts and features, there are several different generations and iterations of the gun mounts in service out there.  The Lynx and Wildcat mounts both have subtle differences thanks to the different generations of products and experience in Afghanistan.  The Merlin HM2 has a different mount all together which is in-turn different that the mounts used by USN and USMC aircraft. 

Whats the take away from this?  One size does not fit all kids.

Recently I've been beset with 'forum-experts' telling me about the many, many things I have wrong.  As I hopefully proved on the BI Forums recently I really do try to do proper research and do actually seek the help of genuine experts in the field.  This input may sometimes be impractical to implement in game but I do try very hard to make things are realistic as the game engine (or my patience) allows.

M3m-wippy-3.jpg

M3m-wippy-2.jpg

Anyway, its 0115GMT.  I've only had 2 hours sleep in the last 24 and I'm getting grouchy and I really do need my beauty sleep.

Hope you like the updates.  If you have genuine questions please do ask.  I'll try my best to answer them.  If not I'll try not to be too sarcastic.

Night all,

Rock

6th Feb 18

 

Rock

It's been an all nighter again. I got frustrated trying to sort the cargo out on the HAMs so I repainted the LCVP mk5 ? This was going to be part of the LPD pack but I'm now thinking of releasing this as a standalone.  Personnel and ViV versions are inWIP

WIP-LCVP5-01.png

LCVP mk5 External 95% done.  Details are almost done and now exporting from Substance. Cockpit next. (Is it a cockpit or a bridge?) Just realised i dropped a clanger with the lifting hook pedestal...kudos points if you can work it out.

WIP-LCVP5-02.png

WIP-LCVP5-03.png

WIP-LCVP5-04.png

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