SWN: July 13th

In my normal fashion I have again reversed a decision in my projects. Some time ago I was working on a Tactical Ops program, trying to make MSFS into a pseudo-military sim, which was quite clunky, and requires a PC running a bunch of apps to air it all happen. I called β€˜time’ on the project when I decided to focus on DCS for my military sim needs.

Fast forward to this year, and some random internet surfing and I stumbled on an idea for using some existing tools to achieve what I wanted for my TACOPS program.

Sims Located on the map in real-time

For this new version of TACOPS I needed to learn ho to work with MySQL I my VB.NET console application. So now I have a simple client app on each sim machine which takes to a Database hosted on Camalus, which is my main server connecting all my sims together. Another small application, this time on Camalus, takes the data from the MySQL database, massages it into the right format then publishes it to my web server. Al this means that anyone, anywhere can run a compatible viewer and see where my sims are. I am using the whazzup.txt format, used by VATSIM and IVAO for displaying their online clients. Viewers such as DOLOYNUM and Qutescoop are my favourites.

Wide-angle view towards the Arrow
Naval ops in full swing in the man-cave

Aerofly Scenery Design

I said there would be more Aerofly screenshots…. Well, here we go πŸ™‚
Over the weekend I did some further experiments with some of the development tools for Aerofly. I have not yet gone so far as to look at the 3DStudio part of the SDK, I’m sticking to established end-user tools for now.

Once I get a little more familiar with the tools, and get consistent results I will publish a list of tools, tutorials and links for those of you playing along at home πŸ˜‰

Aerofly FS2

I have experienced Aerofly FS2 before and was impressed especially as a VR experience, what I wasn’t prepared for was the open architecture and the ease of adding scenery. The tools available for AFS2 are outstanding, allowing for easy development of vast, detailed photo sceneries and even airport design from your web browser. AFS2 is pretty exciting, and has really re-ignited my passion for GA flying….

Expect many *many* more posts on AFS2…. In the meantime, enjoy a screenshot from a flight over Banks Peninsular.

Sim Tech Support

Tonight I got all of Nikolai’s sim parts together for a final run-through to make sure everything was running properly before he takes it all home…

After getting everything setup again, and a couple of test flights by my trusted co-pilot it was all ready to ship off, with Nick’s F/A-18 cockpit, to it’s new home!

New Sim for the ‘Stash’

I am always on the lookout for sim software to add to my collection, and recently while browsing Trademe I stumbled over one of the more obscure items on my ‘wish list’; ASA OnTop IFR Proficiency Simulator.
This is no flashy simulation game, this is a serious training tool… therefore it doesn’t have pretty graphics or sound, what it does have are accurate instrument panels and aircraft performance for 10 different aircraft. It even has detailed simulations of the Garmin GNS430 and G1000 (although it calls it a G1000 ‘like’ display)

So far, apart from unpacking it and quickly installing it to have a look I haven’t done anything serious with it. I have a grand plan to build a 32bit PC (its old remember) and set it up as a desktop training thing in the ManCave….

DCS: SSA Mod

Or “Sean’s Strategic Assets Mod” is my pet name for my conversion project… I plan on converting, with original modelers permission, a bunch of ‘Strategic’ aircraft from FS9 AI models. The idea is to build a mod around aircraft which would be based out of the theater of operations, and so would only be seen ‘in flight’. The reason for this is that until I learn the finer details of animation in Blender or 3D Studio, my models will be static, which is fine for the sorts of aircraft I am planning.
The plan is to convert a few ‘samples’, which I can use to send screenshots to the owners of the models, in the hope that they will grant permission for me to distribute their modified models.

Quick-Build Sim

Yesterday I put together Nikolai’s F/A-18 cockpit. The cockpit design was from Luka at Dogfight Boss, which I had modified for a potential customer at work. When the sale didn’t go through we had the prototype laser-cut cockpit laying around, which Nik purchased. Which goes some of the way to explaining why I ended up putting together someone else’s sim…

The Dogfight Boss design is a simple, slot-together kitset, much like the laser-cut dinosaur toys we all had as kids.. 40 minutes after opening up the package of bits I had the first dry-fit of the ‘pit together.

Dry-fit test complete, now to label and disassemble

After disassembly, I laid out all the bits logically, then set about gluing and nailing it all together.
After a good evening’s work it looks quite good. The final step is to roll it all over and secure the floor to the main structure. I’m sure Nik will be happy πŸ™‚

With a splash of paint it will look awesome!

New IO Interface Component

I have been using up recycled interconnect boards from the skip at work, but as that source is quickly running out I thought I should find an available substitute.
I like the idea of using CAT5 cable and connectors for running between my components and IO boards, so I looked for an RJ45 connector which would suit my needs. A quick search on Aliexpress.com came up with these:

I do quite enjoy getting small parcels of goodness from Aliexpress!

For around $3 each, these things allow me to wire 7 IO lines, plus a common to each cable, which in turn runs to my centralised IO.

My first use of these will be on the 737 MIP, when I wire up the remaining buttons, then the long-awaited EFIS Panel, where I hope to design the connector into the panel, as an integral part, allowing for easy removal for maintenance.

Click here to check out this product on Aliexpress

CT4 Forward Air Controller?

With my playing around in DCS, and my love of the FAC mission, I decided to try a conversion of my CT4 model as a working FAC aircraft in DCS.

I had the basic aircraft geometry imported and converted, albeit with a few bugs so I tackled the task of adding weapons to it one night, and the results were surprisingly good!

CT4/FAC over Echo Lake Nevada on a test flight

I was certain that somewhere in the past the idea of a FAC conversion of the CT4 had been floated, which added some sort of legitimacy to my project.. A bit of searching on the ‘net came up with this page at Aviadejavu.ru

1976 Photo of a CT4 FAC test.

Finding this image was a great step, giving some credence to the idea of a FAC CT4. I need to model the pylons, and find the right sized pods to hang under the wings, and we will have a usable FAC platform for our multiplayer missions!

The most recent news on the modding front is that I am running a 30 day trial of 3DStudio Max, which will hopefully give me time to finish the CT4 project at least… And plans are in play to secure the use of 3DS Max for longer… watch this space!