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 ‘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

Sim Work Night: AI Edition

Another evening of work on Monowai. My plan was to finish off a few modelling items, then start building scenery in various locations.
I am pretty comfortable that I have the model finished to a standard that I could release, so next up comes the ‘factory work’; Creating each variation of the basic model, then setting up the LOD’s (or ‘levels of detail’) for each variation, creating the scenery and finally writing the manual and packing it all up for upload.

Finished? Maybe?

More boats for Monowai

I know, I know… another post about boats on an aviation site! But bear with me, there is at least a screenshot of a helicopter this time!

Development has been moving along nicely on Monowai with the addition of some ‘proper’ boats to replace the generic placeholders I had in early versions.

Steaming South through the Red Sea with her new boats aboard

On the davits are two SMB (Survey Motor Boats), while on the foredeck is a Rotork Sea Truck… like a mini landing craft, which could carry a Landrover or Landcruiser ashore.

The main purpose of this project is to give the AI Wasps somewhere to operate from, and during the week I achieved just that; A small test scenery of Monowai with a Wasp operating from her helicopter deck.

Wasp ’04’ departing from Monowai on a test mission

Now that I have the process sorted for building working scenery around the ship I plan on placing multiple ‘copies’ of Monowai in various locations, with associated Waps flying meaningful survey or supply missions.

I’m pretty pleased with how Monowai is looking, and with a few final details I will be happy to draw a line under it and finalise the package and release it. I will be producing my complete package, as well as a ‘Scenery Library’ package for scenery designers to use.
So far this has been a cool project which I have really enjoyed. I am toying with the idea of continuing my ship modelling, and move on to HMNZS Endevour, but like anything in this hobby, that is likely to change!

Navy Night

I did a bit of fiddling around tonight to produce a ‘Static’ version of Monowai, with a ‘landable’ helipad. Regular visitors will notice that Monowai has lost her boats..after a long and informative discussion with a former Monowai crew member, I now have enough details to create new, and much more accurate boats, which is the next step!

Monowai in company with the 4 Leander Frigates in the Hauraki Gulf

As a quick test of the scenery object I added it to the RNZN Fleet in the Hauraki Gulf. The hardened helipad worked as expected, and Monowai looked great! (RNZN Frigates by Mike Hudson, available at all good FS sites)

One Quiet Wednesday Evening

Monowai is making progress on her delivery voyage. Having left Glasgow on Sunday, she stopped in London for a brief visit, and has now made her way back down the Thames and is heading for her next port visit in Gibraltar.

Sailing back down the Thames, trying to re-create a photo of her real maiden voyage

It has been interesting comparing the relative rate of progress of Monowai, at 14 Knots, to Canterbury.. The trip ‘home’ in Monowai is going to be a long, long journey!

After Monowai had left the Thames, and was safely on Autopilot I headed up to the loft to try and sort a PC issue with the 737 sim. After a wee bit of tinkering I got it up and running, and even had a short flight. Motivation suitably restored, I am once again looking forward to getting it shifted to it’s new home and doing more flying!

Monowai: Update

Another evening’s work on Monowai, and the details are starting to get filled in. The mission was to add the major structures to the fore deck and the various antennae around the top of the superstructure.

The blue coloured bits are yet to be finished and painted, but she is looking much ‘busier’ with more of the details being completed.

HMNZS Monowai: First Look

After completing the initial release of my AI Wasp, I started looking for places for them to fly… I have models of the Leander Class Frigates, but when I found out that Monowai also had an embarked Wasp I thought I’d have a go at modelling her. This is the first quick compile in the sim to have a look, and I think it is looking pretty good so far. Eventually I plan a static scenery object, to be part of the “destinations for the Wasps” but also as a pilot-able ship for my ‘Nautical Adventures’ series….

F421 Canterbury Update

Over the past few weeks I have spent some time in the evenings updating the visual model of F421, adding a virtual cockpit, hand rails and even a crew. The most exciting part of the upgrade has been the addition of animated parts, some simple, like spinning radar scanners and the flapping ensign, some a little more complex like the ‘lowering of the ships boat’….

Canterbury sails in the morning sunlight of the Caribbean

Now, with the push of a button the ‘Captains Gig’ lowers to the surface, then disappears so that I can deploy my own copy of the ships’ boat… more of that Nautical Madness!

Many more animations have been added but more on those later, along with a rundown on the other improvements around the ship.