Changing the Guard

In (yet another) PC shuffle, Canterbury has been returned to port, and has been replaced on patrol by Wellington.  The reason for this is predominantly one of economics;  Canterbury runs on a full-on gaming PC, whereas Wellington is running on a reasonably low-spec laptop, which uses a whole lot less power.
Wellington will now be my main ‘Patrolling’ frigate, with Canterbury being brought out more for specific missions.

Wellington, F69 takes up station off the Hawke Bay coast for upcoming TACOPS test missions.

Wellington’s first ‘mission’ is to take part in the TACOPS test and development project. 

A weekend of Development and Testing

After the development work on TACOPS over the past few weeks, it was time to put it all to the test.  Nathan and I fired up all three sims, plus the Tactical-Commanders station, Canterbury and a Navy RHIB.  The testing plan involved flying and sailing all the assets into the same location, and testing radar and ibnet ‘visual’ contacts on each.  The location for the test was the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga and Whakatane for the aircraft, and White Island for the ships.

The first part of the mission; the locating of all assets, meant a quite long flight in the Arrow, which was at Wigram all the way North to Whakatane.  The positioning flight began on Thursday evening in awful weather.  At one point, battling a terrible North West gale I had a mere 70 Knots ground speed, so I opted to drop in to Kaikoura for the night and try again the following evening.

First stop;  Kaikoura

Friday night, the weather was marginally better, but only marginally, but with tanks topped of and charts in hand it was time to push North.  The initial plan was to position the Arrow to Galatea, but given that the airfield has no lighting at all, and it was going to be near midnight by the time I got there, I opted to continue on to Whakatane, with not only lighting, but published instrument approaches (which would turn out to be quite a good thing!)

Some pretty cool cloud-scapes and colours as the sun set

Now, with everything in place it was time for our test ‘mission’, so bright and early on Saturday we powered up all the sims and started our testing.

Tactical Commanders view, Tactical Situation on Google Earth, Weather brief via and a camera view from the host aircraft.

We identified a few missing aircraft models on a couple of the sims, which were quickly fixed, then we moved on to the ‘radar’ testing. 

TACOPS provided the radar targets, which were showing successfully on Eric Marciano’s early, freeware radar gauge, but not on his later, and much more sophisticated gauges, nor were they showing on the 737’s Project Magenta Glass Cockpit display.
‘ibnet’ Multiplayer targets were showing on Eric’s later gauges, but only when airborne (which I imagine was by design).  So with this knowledge The Skyhawk will be fitted with the older radar gauge for use against Maritime and Land based targets.  The down-side is that the locked targets probably wont be showed on the HUD… but that is merely a theory at this point and will need some testing!

Canterbury on station off White Island

It *was* dark…. but the ‘TAC-CDR’ made a low-pass on arrival in the AO

Spring Time Means Spring Cleaning

A quiet, Spring weekend and I finally got had the time to have a bit of a clean-out in the ManCave.  I got some old, redundant PC’s out of the way, moved CAMALUS (my main server) into it’s proper place in the PC ‘stack’, and even vacuumed the carpet!

Woah!  I can see the carpet!

Anyone who has visited lately will know what a complete state the place was.  It is now quite pleasant walking in… rather than having to watch your step so as not to step on or fall over something!
One down-side of my tidying was that one of my ‘Ship Drone’ PC’s departed for Computer heaven….   leaving my fleet one-down.  To alleviate this I dug out yet-another-old-laptop and got FS running on that too…

3 Laptops, 3 different missions;  Frigate (escort), Liberty Ship (Transport) and Control Tower (basically just watching)

So now, with the great PC reshuffle I have more players in my multiplayer adventures than ever before!  I even re-tasked my old “gaming” machine running as a 707 Tanker…..  

A kick in the RHIB’s?

A quick and dirty conversion of some 3D models, then a rough and ready merge with Hama’s speedboat….

Speed Trials……  quite a *lot* of speed!
And thank’s to Hama’s great FDE it is maneuverable as well!

I have 3 usable visual models to work with, the one in the screenshots is the most like those I have seen in RNZN photos.  I need to research more, and add some paint to the basic models, then maybe a virtual cockpit and some animations.

A little ‘Boat Building’

With my current interest in things nautical, it should come as no surprise that I’ve started messing around with some boat design/mods…

I have often thought it would be cool to be able to launch a zodiac or similar from my vessel and use it to go ashore…   so tonight, while waiting for some images to render for work, I was browsing through a 3D modelling site and found this nice, low-poly model of my Zodiac.

I need to do some research to figure out what colour I’ll paint it in, or maybe ‘colours’… and convert it to a flightsim model.  Then I guess I’ll have to learn about FDE’s for floating things; that’ll be a new experience!

In other Nautical news;  I have archived my “Around the World in 80 Days” Diary in 6 PDF’s and posted them on a new page in the “Nautical Adventures” menu at the top of the page.

More Marine Madness

My Naval fleet is expanding….   After having so much fun sailing Canterbury all over the globe, and with the recent addition of more ‘drone’ PC’s I decided to branch out a little with my fleet.

Hama’s AI Container Ship sails past (and dwarf’s!) Canterbury

USS Mispillion AO-105, a Fleet Oiler from the 60’s
A ‘Post War’ Liberty Ship.  These ships were built in their thousands during WWII, with many finding their way into private hands after the war.
Cap San Diego, a 60’s era German general cargo ship.

These varied ships will give me lots of options for new scenarios, especially in multiplayer.  But of course, they also let me play sailor a bit more 🙂

RNZN_AI Fleet Update

There has been some PC shuffling going on around the house, and as a result I now have more old PC’s to use as drones for ibnet sessions… so tonight I got some of them running, and experimented with using my laptop as a “remote control” for 3 frigates sailing around in the Gulf of Tonkin..

Google’s ‘Chrome Remote Desktop’ is really good for connecting to multiple hosts, with good framerate and even sound.

Canterbury and Wellington heading South, while Otago is heading North to meet them.  I think a display like this would look great running on the TV in the ManCave!

Next scheduled upgrade for the frigate fleet is the addition/integration of Eric Marciano’s ATC Radar

Not only does it show AI aircraft around you, it also shows ibnet players, perfect for some C&C during multiplayer missions!

Canterbury and Wellington Rendezvous in the Gulf of Tonkin

Canterbury to Vietnam

After a successful mission in South Korea, HMNZS Canterbury has made the treacherous transit down the Chinese coast, dodging Typhoon’s and is now in Danang, Vietnam.

Sailing into the sunset as Canterbury enters the South China Sea

First stop on arriving in the South China Sea was a rendezvous with CVN70, USS Carl Vinson operating on Yankee Station, East of Danang.

Early morning Rendezvous with Carl Vinson

After visiting the Carl Vinson it was time to head into port and resupply.  From ‘Yankee Station’ to Danang is only a very short transit, so before nightfall Canterbury was safely docked in Danang Harbour, within sight of the busy Danang Air Base.

Safely alongside the quay in Danang Harbour

I have been sourcing and installing Vietnam scenery with the idea to do a little exploring, with a touch of Vietnam War history included.  To that end I have installed some interesting 60’s era sceneries and AI packages.  Next step is to get the Skyhawk, Arrow and 737 in-country and start exploring!

Rendezvous in South Korea

Canterbury has continued her ‘Port Hopping’ adventure around the Eastern and Southern coast of South Korea, visiting ports in some truly spectacular scenery.

Tonight, after a day-long cruise through the myriad of small Islands around the South coast, Canterbury was coming in to Port in Mokpo, so I decided to fly the 737 down tomeet her.

Canterbury arriving in Mokpo in the late afternoon

Departing at dusk from Osan, then a quick flight down the West coast had us arriving overhead Canterbury just after dark.

A night flight across South Korea

Mokpo airport closed in 2006, due to a number of reasons, but in my world, it was still operational 😉    One of the reasons the airport closed was the “frequent misty weather”…. which is what I encountered tonight!

After the flight, with Canterbury and the 737 bedded down for the evening, I fired up DCS:World, and had a quick test flight in the Macchi around Nellis.   I now have 3 versions of DCS installed on the PC, each with their own benefits……   The primary benefit of the ‘Steam’ edition is that it is the only one compatible with the version of the Nellis ‘NTTR’ terrain package.