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Rock posted a blog entry in Work In ProgressJust Snuck it in! Its still Wednesday in England, just! I've spent most of today cleaning up after the gale force winds lashing the North West of the UK. We lost a drain pipe, 4 fence panels and most of a 20m high Conifer (tree) came crashing into our yard. Sooo this is not what i planned to do but its a direct response to some questions about model making and in particular the F-35C we showed a while back. If you are a follower of UK Defence procurement you'll know the saga of the F-35 and the CVF Carriers well. If not then in a nutshell; The previous UK government chose the F-35B (STOVL - Short Take Off Vertical Landing) under a procurement project called the Joint Combat Aircraft, then we got a new coalition government who started a huge cost saving exercise in the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) called the SDSR (Strategic Defence and Security Review) aka Strategic Defence Spending Review if you are financially minded. This wrought a swathe of spending cuts and cancellations, killing numerous projects and thousands of jobs. One of the few things I did personally agree with was the switch to the F-35C (CATOBAR - CAtapult Take Off But Arrested Recovery) version of the Joint Strike Fighter. The biggest reason I agreed with the move was the change in the CVF carriers and what it meant for interoperability with France and the US navies. With the STOVL Harrier and the F-35B we could land on any of their carriers. But they could not land on ours. With the more conventional F-35C we could share decks more readily, giving us better opportunities for training and cooperation. And the 'C' has other distinct advantages. Its cheaper, carries more fuel and weapons and is arguably cheaper to support over its lifetime since there are more C's on order with the USN etc. And its easier to model... less doors and fiddly bits I get asked a lot what tool I make my models in and how i do it. The honest answer is that its a mix of CAD, various 3D apps and BIS own O2. My background is Aerospace engineering so I've spent a lot of time working in 3D CAD packages, CADDS 5 and CATIA mostly but I've done a lot of stuff in AutoCAD too. More recently Ive just been using O2 and Modo. (There a story about buying modo off a Reseller that i will relate another time - but in short buy always buy direct. It will save you lots of drama). If you follow the RKSL thread on the BIS forums you will probably know I'm a fan of O2. Alot of the early RKSL models were almost exclusively made in O2, specifically the Lynx and the Typhoon. I like the simplicity of the interface and the cost (ie free) and if you are willing to spend some time with it you can make some very good models with it. But now the accepted standard of models in the ArmA2 community is much higher than it was. With the demand for more detailed models and textures the need to use a good 3D tool has increased. You really do need to be able to sculpt and bake models and textures now just to be accepted as "good" in the community it seems. I've found that getting good reference pics is the key to making good models. I pretty much save every interesting image i find these days. My research image archive is over 80gb with a further 30gb of movies. In Modo, O2 or Max getting a good background 3 view drawing will make your modeling life so much easier. if you can't find a decent schematic, try photos. The F-35 was partly made from an old 3 view and about 20 photos i pieced together in Photoshop. The photos are obviously the far more accurate source. Modelling is only half the fun though. I've often found myself remaking large areas of models so that i can animate it properly. In a lot of my commercial jobs, especially TV and film stuff its embarrassing how low poly/quality some of the models are. You make to a spec that often means a plane wont have any landing gear since it will only be on screen for a few seconds. In ArmA2 you will spend far more time making an addon than you will with most projects that end up in the popular media . I've always taken great pride in getting everything working properly in our addons. The landing gear must fold up correctly and not stick out of the doors or fuselage or it really bugs the crap out of me every time i see it. With the F-35 - see we're getting back on topic - its proved to be a bit of a nightmare. Working out the hinge points, the sequences etc. Don't get me wrong I love this part. Well the techie geeky part of me does, but its not always quick or simple especially if you want to make it look as realistic as possible. One of the biggest dramas was fitting all the Weapons in the F-35's bays. Getting a 2000lb to sit nicely in the bay with an AIM-120 AMRAAM is proving a bit difficult and required quite a lot of fettling. We're going to try and support the widest possible range of weaponry for the F-35 but its not going to be the full selection, Even after we add support for external stores we don't have the time to model every possible combination. But it all comes down to having fun, even when its a pain in the arse trying to land on a CVF Have Fun, Rock, UNN, Messiah and CBFASI
Its been 'kindly' pointed out to me on Skype that I havent teased anyone with previously unseen addons this year (so far) So I thought i'd better accede to the request: And to prove its an addon and not just a model... there we go, in-game and flying. Remember though its a still a work in progress. Have fun. I am.
Oh what a month for the UK Ministry of Defence Procurement Executive. And I do mean that in the nicest possible way. U-turns with the F-35s and carriers, balancing their budget - that wont last long I bet - and trying to work out how to leave Afghanistan without having to dig a tunnel under Pakistan. And they will always be caught between the eternally warring factions of the Armed Forces and 'Politicians'. If you know anything about the UK armed forces you'll know something of the inter-service rivalry. Its legend really but it all resolves down to one thing; who gets the most money to spend on new toys. The Army like to remind everyone that Soldiering is the world's oldest profession. (Well really it is prostitution but if you've ever served in any military you'll know that's a pretty close description of your time in.) But they have a long and distinguished career with 405 years of history and the Battle honours to prove it. The Royal Air Force, whilst the youngest of the services are no less proud. Distinguishing themselves in the Second World War by defending the British Isles against superior numbers and (arguably) equipment. Promoting "Brill cream" and training a very large number of foreign aircrew along the way. The Royal Navy. The worlds oldest professional military service dating from the 16th Century, they call themselves the "Senior Service". (I know a few other names for them too but that would be rude.) Traditionally, Britain has been a strong Naval power. Ever since the 1970's the Royal Navy has been shrinking. Not diminishing but, "downsizing" to adjust to the threats against the Kingdom and Crown. (I love that phrase, typical defensive twaddle - another word I'm rather fond of too.) With the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal R09 - The last *cough*full size*cough* carrier in the RN - the axe fell on conventional fixed wing operations for the Navy. Smaller Strike Carriers and Sea Harriers took over, some cynics called it the Beginning of the End for the Fleet Air Arm. "See you in two weeks...maybe a month." In 1982 Argentina shook the UK government's resolve to reduce defence spending by invading the Falklands (You may have heard about it). The Royal Navy, in its downsized form pulled off nothing short of a miracle. Readying a Task Force consisting of both Navy and converted Civilian vessels in less than 2 weeks. Something I really doubt we (as a nation) could do now, there isn't enough cash for a start. But it was an impressive feat nonetheless. Sekra, WLD427 and I were talking about it a few weeks ago. Eddie/WLD427 amusingly said, "Only the British could declare War then say, 'see you in two weeks...maybe a month.'" As a Brit, i'm rather proud of that. Without wanting to wade brazenly into the entire political issues of now and then, the Falklands are still British soil so we know what happened. I'm just going blithly wade on and skip to the aftermath and its affect in Royal Navy spending and Budgets. Since the Harrier/Strike Carrier concept worked so well a number of politicians and civil servants saw this as proof that Britain did not need larger carriers. Leaving some RN officers spluttering, "But we could have done it so much better with more aircraft." Which is arguably true but the job was done with a smaller carrier and that was that for the next 15-20 years. Queen Elizabeth-class (CV Future) Enter the CVF which later became known as the Queen Elizabeth class. In 2000 the UK MoD started to seriously consider the ramifications of aging Harriers and the cost of maintaining the RN's three strike carriers. The Joint Strike Fighter Programme was a strong contender (who am I kidding it was the only real contender faced with the alternatives) for the new JCA (Joint Combat Aircraft) to equip the RAF and RN Fleet Air Arm for the 21st Century. Contrary to popular belief, the "CV" hull classification symbol does not stand for "Carrier Vessel". The "CV" designation was originally derived from cruisers, since aircraft carriers were seen as an extension of the sea control and denial mission of cruisers. The "V" designation for heavier-than-air craft comes from the French verb voler (to fly). Since 1935, "CV" has been a two-letter, unitary hull classification symbol meaning "aircraft carrier". I wont go into detail over the history or recent events save to say. I think its all "bollocks", I really do. The original design for the "ramped" deck was to ensure that the Harriers could be operated if the JCA was not delivered in time. (Given the decision to axe the Sea Harrier in 2006 and finally the GR7 & 9 in 2010 seems a bit unwise doesn't it) The same "original spec" also demanded that the design must be flexible enough to allow a more conventional CATOBAR refit if needed. Given that little bit of information and the recent events you just have to ask, "Who dropped the ball on that one then?" What a [email protected]%k up that was. If this was part of the design spec why is it supposedly costing so much to change the deck design now? And lets not forget the French PA2, a CVF class vessel with a conventional CATOBAR deck. Why couldn't we use that design? Wouldn't that have saved some money? I've asked this question of several MoD and Carrier Alliance staff and I've never got an answer. The more worrying part is that until i mentioned it to the MoD bod, he wasn't aware that the French carrier design was different! I get why the CDS and MoD have made this decision given the current financial and political climate. I just think the entire premise was wrong from the start. My opinion is that we should have not even considered a STOVL (aka ramp) deck and gone with the more conventional CATOBAR design from the first day. It made much more sense given that our two biggest allies, the US and France both operate conventional decks. Each demonstrating very capable strike and air defence aircraft on them. Each demonstrating the capability to deploy a credible force anywhere in the world. Two sayings spring to mind: "If it aint broke don't fix it" "Don't try to reinvent the wheel." Of course there are credible arguments for the STOVL aircraft but considering the projected operating costs of the F-35B vs. the F-35C I believe the immediate expense would have been saved over the longer term, in parts, training and ongoing joint operations. And we would have got a far more capable aircraft and carrier force in the end. Shame the politicians are more concerned about their jobs than doing the job right the first time. "Well I made one in OFP and I've ported it forward..." Anyway, idiotic policy and project management decisions aside, we, RKSL are making a CVF. Well I made one in OFP and I've ported it forward as you can see. But its not really up-to scratch for ArmA3. Its surprisingly low poly for its size but its in dire need of upgrade, especially since ArmA3's focus on underwater capability the existing model's hull needs some rework. Its over 280m long and nearly 70m wide so obviously its not a single object. Its made up of 6 sections assembled via script. In OFP times this was done using SetPos but now we can use AttachTo with much greater effect. And as CBFASI previously mentioned, he and UNN have developed a scripting systems that allows users to tie down objects anywhere on the decks which opens up some interesting possibilities. However, with ArmA3 creeping forever closer with its 'new' game engine including PhysX and other enhancements we may find that CBFASI and UNN's carefully crafted scripts may become obsolete. The model is going to get some significant "love", I'll even go so far as to say the model you see here won't be the same one you will hopefully eventually see in game. I'm already remaking the Hull. The flight deck is slightly the wrong shape. Not much, but its enough that it affects the hull shape so it will need changing. And of course the interior will need some attention too Whatever happens with ArmA3 we will have some large Royal Naval assets ingame! Eventually... I didn't know that until this evening. I always thought it meant Carrier Vessel. You learn something new everyday.