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    DCS: F-14 Development Update - Enter the -A!



    DCS: F-14 Development Update

    Dear All,

    We’re super excited here at Heatblur: we’re about to finally launch the F-14A, arguably the biggest feature update to the F-14 since launch day, and a massive chunk of work in flight and systems modeling.
    Together with several other new features, we’re starting to solidify our goals in pulling the F-14 across the finish line by the 2 year release anniversary!

    The F-14A will go live on November 18th, together with a complete sound overhaul, full campaign for the -B Tomcat, and plenty of other new features, improvements and QoL changes.

    Sincere apologies to all of you hoping to fly the -A tomorrow! Due to October’s patch schedule, we decided to introduce additional changes and features in this major update, but in doing so, we did introduce just enough serious issues to miss the cutoff for the 4th. We’re working hard with our SMEs, testing team and everyone involved to ensure a smooth first launch of the F-14A-135-GR. The 18th patch is an interim patch, and one which Eagle Dynamics has graciously worked into their roadmap in order to accommodate our rollout. Thank you to our partners at ED for the assistance and working to pen this release in, especially outside of their planned schedule.

    Let’s jump in-depth and elaborate on what we’re actually including in this major update and what to expect on November 18th.
    We’ve been very focused on the execution and completion of major features still missing from the Tomcat, and this update will be the first in a series of major updates that will bring us to a full release status next year.
    If our initial launch was a version 0.8; this is very much a 0.85, with 0.9, 0.95 and 1.0 to follow through March 2021. A lot of development threads are finally converging, and that means an exciting time ahead.

    F-14A Tomcat




    The F-14 has been a huge undertaking for the team and a challenging experience. That’s the tldr; and simultaneously, the understatement of the year.

    In case you missed our previous post about the F-14A’s TF-30 engine, you can read it here.
    It’s well worth a read to understand the complexity behind the -A, even on a basic FM and simulation level.

    Since that time, the TF-30’s performance and compressor stall models have been undergoing constant improvement and tuning based on pilot SME feedback.
    This process is on-going, and will continue through the next few months. The pace of SME feedback and change turnaround has started to increase as we near nailing the feel, response and performance of the TF-30, and we expect this tuning to be done by the end of the year.

    This engine tuning has been conducted in parallel with more airframe performance and handling tuning now that our primary SME (who exclusively flew the F-14A) has had enough stick time in our F-14A to be able to give us more precise feedback at a fine level of detail. We keep repeating this; but our SMEs are an invaluable part of our development process, and we are continually in awe of their commitment and passion in helping us.
    In addition to model tuning, several new features have been added to assist in flying the F-14A specifically:
    • Optional Afterburner Gate Keybinds will allow pilots to keep their throttles right at the MIL stop to help avoid compressor stalls - this will hopefully alleviate some of the “feel” lost virtually!
    • TF-30 Mid Compression Bypass Circuit Breaker will allow pilots to disable the TF30’s MCB circuit, which may give extra thrust in some conditions, but at the cost of stability. The real life viability of this tactic is in question, however we’re providing it as-is and in accordance with technical specifications. Use with care!
    • External engine fire and compressor stall animations (synced over network) - All progressive fire, damage and other effects are now properly synchronized across the network and you can see your wingmen struggling with their engine issues as they happen.
    • Fire Shutoff Handles + Fire Suppression System - shut down an engine fire before it becomes a problem (this will not always be successful!) This system is a one-time use system, not once-per-engine!




    As we’ve continued along our journey in building the most common and certainly the most iconic variant of the Tomcat around; we’ve continually re-evaluated what our goals are with shipping the -A and what we want to achieve. Based on this process, we’ve ended up at expanding our original scope, and we’ll be shipping the following F-14A variants in the coming months:
    • F-14A-95-GR: Early F-14A for IRIAF. These jets will have certain limitations and modifications, such as the lack of TCS and fuel pylons.
    • F-14A-135-GR (Early): This will be an earlier representation of the F-14A, equipped with the ALR-45 RWR and will also come with a number of minor variations such as early gun vents, alternate de-fog systems, and other minor differences between late and early ALR-45 equipped F-14A’s.
    • F-14A-135-GR (Late): This version represents a later, ALR-67 equipped F-14A.
    November 18th will see the release of ALR-67 equipped F-14A-135-GR. While this represents a closer analogue to the current F-14B, it also allows us to roll out the F-14A in a controlled, stepwise process. The ALR-45 equipped F-14A will not be far behind, which will not only introduce more significant changes in cockpit avionics, but also implement the full overhaul of RWR and EM spectrum emissions upgrades planned for both the ALR-67 and ALR-45. See more details on that here. Investment into core technologies such as robust RWR simulation pays dividends in future products, and getting it just right the first time around is critical to modularity and reusability.

    With these three distinct eras of the F-14A, we hope to accurately represent a wide cross-section of the F-14A’s operational life. Some of these additions, changes and limitations will be implemented through mission editor or special options menus. We hope to provide a substantial level of customizability to account for many of the differences found, on even a jet to jet basis. Some of these include, across the three variants:
    • Removal of fuel pylons
    • Bullet fairing for TCS
    • ALQ instead of TCS (IRIAF 95-GR)
    • Early Gun vent / plate
    • Fuselage RIO step strengthener panel (optional)
    • Alternate front windscreen defogger array
    • Early duck-tail
    • ALQ-/ECM bulges
    • MBU-7/p Mask
    • MS22001 Mask
    • HGU-55 Pilots (in lieu of HGU-33)
    We genuinely hope you’ll enjoy flying the F-14A come the 18th, and we greatly look forward to your feedback, stories and impressions!







    Sound Overhaul

    We’ve performed a full overhaul of the F-14’s exterior soundset, both for the F-14B and in preparation for the F-14A. Hopefully you’ve all seen (and enjoyed!) the video above. Primarily, we’ve focused on both making the sound much more authentic, but alleviating some of the common and severe issues caused by mismatched sound samples and gain levels. We’ve also expanded the interior soundscape, especially for the F-14A through the addition of new compressor stall sounds, afterburner zone thumps and additional sound cues for throttle positioning.

    In summary, these are some of the main changes and improvements we’ve made:
    • Added new rear aspect exhaust sounds for both low and high power levels, with transition zones in between
    • New intake sounds, based on real F-14B and F-14A sound samples, refined and positioned correctly for each engine. Additional new intake sounds are now blended in at high power settings
    • New afterburner sounds at medium and long distances, for appropriate thunderous crackle and roar
    • New fly-by oriented sounds, especially in the front quadrant.
    • New engine fan blade rattle sound (slow windmilling speeds) - you’ll now hear the engines windmilling and clattering if wind conditions are appropriate.
    • AB Zone lighting thumps (internal) - especially audible for each zone in the F-14A.
    • New compressor stall sounds, both externally and internally. Especially important for the F-14A!
    • Tuned all engine sounds throughout RPM ranges, especially startup and shutdown.
    • Adjusted all sdef files to improve directional sound and audible distances. This should solve issues such as the aircraft being heard from much too far away, especially at low RPMs.
    • Complete overhaul of audio driver logic - across all RPM ranges, speeds, and more.
    Enjoy this startup video to get a better idea of the soundscape of an F-14B starting up on the ramp!





    F-14B Campaign: Operation Reforger – The Iron Heel
    This update will introduce one of our two main campaigns shipping with the F-14; namely the F-14B campaign set in the Caucasus theatre!
    We’ve been hopefully tiding you over through single player content in the form of missions and over 50 instant action scenarios, and it’s now going to be time to put your skills to the test.

    The F-14B campaign consists of 10 missions, including:
    • 10 fully-voiced missions testing the player’s skills, from Carrier Quals, to CAP, Air-to-Air refueling, MiGCAP and fighter sweep, intercepts, navigation, endurance flights, emergency handling and the hunt for an invisible enemy.
    • Carrier based operations from USS Stennis (replaced by the USS Forrestal in the next major patch)
    • A story following a close “what could have happened scenario” - fully voice acted
    • Realistic warfare that is focused on containing conflict escalation.
    • A supercarrier compatible version that will be published shortly after its initial release.
    • A Co-Op version, playable together as pilot-rio or as a two-ship!
    The year is 1990. Russia is struggling during a time of severe grain shortage and economic crisis, Gorbachev’s policies of “glasnost” and “perestrojka” seem to be failing, while support for the president is wavering. When elections go wrong and leave Russia’s leader weaker than ever before, more and more Soviet succession states in the East Bloc are accepting Western help to overcome their economic woes, in return for a reduced influence of Soviet power. This leads to members of the Central Committee and the Politburo pointing their focus towards Gennady Yanayev, so far Gorbachev’s Vice president, but with very opposing views to him: he advocates a strong centralized government to deal with the crisis, which eventually will see him replacing Gorbachev as the new president by May 1st, 1990.

    His first objective after obtaining power is to immediately secure the Soviet succession particularly in the former Soviet Satellite states, also endangering the German Unification process: unless all four occupying forces give their consent, Germany cannot re-unify. Yanayev refuses to let East Germany go and in fact he orders Russian troops from the center of the Soviet Union (Odessa and Transcaucasus military districts) to Western Europe and borders with the recently fallen Iron curtain. When tensions rise and an East German protest marching on the Headquarters of Western Group Forces (WGF - Soviet military in East Germany) is put down by brutal force, leaving several hundred dead, West Germany strikes Russian positions in East Germany, notifying their closest allies, Great Britain and the US.



    With Turkey having declared Russia as a threat under the Montreux convention and denying them access through the Bosporus, the US moves their Mediterranean Battlegroup including the USS Stennis into the Black Sea for a freedom of movement exercise to show US strength and resolve in the matter. The purpose is to enforce a Black Sea embargo on Russia and increase the pressure of failing grain resupplies through the Bosporus, in order to bring the German Unification process back on track. With Russia having consolidated most of its troops around the West German border and its western borders in general, and worldwide support for Russia failing in light of its recent stance against Germany, the US moves to strike crucial targets such as Air Defenses, Oil installations, Military Bases and Headquarters in the Caucasus. The prime concern remains Russia’s force of Tu-22M Backfires in the region. While the airwing is being readied for the first wave of night strikes, the Battle Group kicks off their offensive by launching Tomahawk cruise missiles from their cruisers, striking centers of communication and airbases including Sevastapol, Gudauta, and Kutaisi. In the early morning of November 4th the CVG launches successive alpha strikes that head overland to destroy radar installations, air defenses, and coastal air bases. Of course, MiGCAPs and fighter sweeps support every strike to destroy every fighter that can be found.

    You are the Iron Heel of Operation Reforger, which will conduct primary strikes against Russian targets in East Germany in order to regain sovereignity by the German people. While the main group attacks Russia head on, your job is to weaken the enemy in its own backyard enough to force him back to the negotiation table.


    Yaw String


    Not much to say. We love this. Hope you will too! Coming for both F-14A and -B.


    Other Changes & Full Preliminary Changelog
    While the major features above are the core focus for this F-14 patch and development update, we’ve also made significant improvements, QoL changes and other fixes across the product as a whole.
    The online manual is currently being revised to include the F-14A in the variants listed above as we ship them, and each update will go live with each variant of the aircraft.

    In the past couple of weeks, we’ve also continued to interface with Eagle Dynamics on missile guidance and the associated API issues. ED has implemented a number of fixes which should hopefully lead to the solution required for the -54 to work appropriately. We are currently in the process of evaluating these DCS side changes but we believe there’s strong potential of including these AIM-54 guidance updates in the patch on the 18th!

    Check out the full preliminary changelog for the 18th below:
    • NEW Added 10 mission F-14B Campaign (“Operation Reforger - The Iron Heel”)
    • NEW Added -A Model Tomcat (Late USN, ALR-67 Equipped Variant). New Systems and Changes include:
    • TF30 engine model, including:
      • Mid Compression Bypass Circuit
      • Mach Lever
      • Expanded compressor stall model
      • Hydromechanical fuel control
      • New thrust model
      • New engine spool dynamics
      • New afterburner model
      • Updated nozzle logic
      • New audio
    • Reshaped engine nacelles and added new nozzles
    • New Liveries for late F-14A-135-GR
    • NEW: Complete external sound overhaul (TF30 & F110). We’ve entirely overhauled the F-14’s exterior soundset, including the following changes:
      • New rear aspect exhaust sounds
      • New intake sounds
      • New afterburner sounds
      • New fly-by sounds
      • New engine fan blade rattle sound (slow windmilling speeds)
      • AB Zone lighting thump (internal)
      • Fixed stall warning tone + new audio sample (internal)
      • New compressor stall sounds
      • Tuned engine start and idle sounds
      • Adjusted all sdef files to improve directional sound and audible distance
      • Complete overhaul of audio driver logic on code side
      • Various other common sound fixes:
        • Sounds now load quicker
        • Tomcat is no longer unbearably loud at idle and at distance
        • Reduced total number of sound samples being played in external view
    • NEW Added simulated yaw string (A and B models)
    • NEW Fire Suppression System + keybinds
    • NEW Mid Compression Bypass Circuit Breaker keybind (F-14A only)
    • NEW Afterburner Gate option + keybind
    • NEW Jester Features:
      • JOKER callout
      • BINGO fuel callout
    • Fixed fuel shutoff handles not shutting down engines
    • Fixed engine stall/over temperature warning light logic
    • Added F-14A versions of Caucasus, PG and Syria Quickstart missions
    • Adjusted F-14B fuselage nacelle area for more roundness and visual fidelity
    • Adjusted afterburners to not show black streaks
    • Engine windmill speed now affected by relative wind direction
    • Adjusted F110 AB thrust below mach 0.7
    • Fixed crashes caused by visual effects during compressor stalls
    • Adjusted engine fire and compressor stall visual effects.
    • Engine fire and compressor stall effects now synced over the network
    • Adjusted pitch damping and pitch with power effects per SME comments
    • Adjusted inlet aerodynamic performance per SME comments
    • Adjusted subsonic airframe drag per SME comments
    • Fixed TF-30 oil overheating
    • Misc potential crash fixes in engine code
    • Updated F-14B Syria Take-Off Instant Action mission
    • Painted air brake pistons white
    • Allow AIM-7MH to loft, except when fired in ACM or boresight modes
    • Add CVN-75 to the data link capable carriers
    • Flood antenna identifies as missile lock instead of STT to targets now, for consistency with other DCS modules
    • Enable sparrow flood antenna if STT is lost while sparrow is in flight
    • Update RWR threat library version
    • Fix RWR symbols for HQ-7
    • Fix ARC-159 (pilot radio) keybinds for OFF/MAIN/BOTH/ADF
    • Fixed VF-11 Red Rippers (1997)/description.lua to remove problematic Spec Map
    • Adjust AIM-54 chaff resistance after latest ED changes
    • Add bindable input for pilot hydraulic hand pump
    • Use the DCS global gameplay option for hiding control stick
    • Fix typo in options dialog (butons->buttons)
    • Converted Bone Strike, Colorado River Time Trial, Debridging the River Ingur, Heatblurring the Lines, Kish Kat Attack, Protect the Viksburg, Rioni River Run, Seine River Endurance Run to F-14A compatible versions
    • Adjusted AIM-54 countermeasure resistance to revert to old ED System
    • Fixed TID STT strobe angle error when not flying level
    • Potentially fixed a case where TWS AIM-54 could erroneously track a target not receiving recent radar returns
    • Prevent RIO from using Pilot Controls from backseat.
    • Fixed steering tee not displayed in weapon off mode.
    • Fixed detached wing not disappearing in LoD1+
    • Fixed Pilots not disappearing (due to various causes) in LoD1+
    • Shifted pilot stick neutral position slightly aft
    • Adjusted flap jamming logic per SME feedback




    Next Updates
    Continuing past the 18th of November, we will continue to focus our efforts on implementing SME feedback across the F-14A launch and beyond, while concurrently executing on the next major features on our roadmap to 1.0. We’ve repeated these ad nauseum, so we’ll spare you the entire bulleted list; but things like JESTER Lantirn, Forrestal and A-6 remain top priorities, and we greatly look forward to sharing more.

    That said, however, we’ll be focusing on the following items for the next major patch later this winter:
    • Forrestal Class initial release
    • USN F-14A-135-GR (early) with ALR-45
    • IRIAF F-14A-95-GR with ALR-45, no TCS, no tanks
    • Refinement of F-14A based on release feedback
    • In-cockpit VR pilots
    In summary, we’ll continue the F-14A rollout with the expanded variants listed above through shipping the ALR-45 equipped F-14A, and capping things off with the early IRIAF F-14A for RedFor in a final update.
    We’ll continue to ship medium-tier improvements such as the sound overhaul and yaw string in parallel to the major milestone features.




    As always, thanks for your support - enjoy the F-14A and please share your thoughts with us once you’ve stalled out a few times! We can’t wait to hear what you think!

    Overall, we look forward to ending this year on a high note, with a clear path to full release come early 2021 and the journey towards excellent product sustainment and the next generation of Heatblur titles, based on all of our combined experience and robust technological foundation.

    Sincerely,
    HB


    Attached Files
    Last edited 11-04-2020, 02:45 AM.
    Nicholas Dackard

    Founder & Lead Artist
    Heatblur Simulations

    https://www.facebook.com/heatblur/

    #2
    First, I need to say what an update. Thank you, Heatblur for your continued dedication. Now I have a few questions. Is the F-14B getting the pilot changes (such as the HGU-55) as well, and will there be a way to have different Pilot and RIO helmets in the LOD3in1 file? Final question (for now lol), will the skin templates be close to the same, so we can copy/paste our B skins over to the A template? Thank you again, the 18th is gonna be a good day.

    Comment


      #3
      Nice to see multiple variants being added to cover different timeframes

      Will there be earlier spec missiles for these? For example AIM-9G/H & AIM-7Es for the USN F-14A, and AIM-9J/P & AIM-7E for the IRIAF F-14A?

      Thanks

      Comment


        #4
        Whoa!!!! Smashing news! What a great day.

        I noticed the digital engine display for the B wasn’t mentioned. Where is that on the priority list?


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
        Win 10, AMD FX9590/water cooled, 32GB RAM, 250GB SSD system, 1TB SSD (DCS installed), 2TB HD, Warthog HOTAS, MFG rudders, Track IR 5, LG Ultrawide, Logitech Speakers w/sub, Fans, Case, cell phone, wallet, keys.....printer

        Comment


          #5
          As someone who has no interest in the A, I was REALLY hoping for Jester LANTIRN functionality. Now I see it wont be coming this year. (unless I read over it)
          Of course this is a major update for the F14 and I can imagine those who were looking forward to the A will be ecstatic.
          In addition I am looking forward to the sound rework and the missile updates!

          Thanks for the update and the work you put in!

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for the newsletter!
            Spoiler:
            |Motherboard|: Asus TUF Gaming X570-PLUS,
            |WaterCooler|: Corsair H115i Pro,
            |CPU|: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X,
            |RAM|: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB 3200MHz DDR4,
            |SSD|: Kingston A2000 500GB M.2 NVMe,
            |SSD|: Kingston 2.5´ 480GB UV400 SATA III,
            |SSHD|: Seagate Híbrido 2TB 7200RPM SATA III,
            |GPU|: MSI Gaming 980Ti,
            |Monitor|: LG UltraWide 34UM68,
            |Joystick 1|: Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog,
            |Joystick 2|: T.Flight Rudder Pedals,
            |Head Motion|: TrackIr 5.

            Comment


              #7
              Very nice looking update. All the customization options and multiple variants look very cool.

              BTW what is the block number for the F-14B we have?

              Comment


                #8
                Schwing!!! That'll do pig, that'll do.


                Thank you

                Comment


                  #9
                  Outstanding news! I guess all thosd delays and all the patience is going to be well worth it in the end.

                  A few questions regarding some outstanding issues though:

                  - will the remaining few internal and external lighting issues be resolved soon?
                  - last year you spoke about the Forrestal class carriers consisting of 3-4 ships being shipped (no pun intended) with the Tomcat. Is this still planned with just the Forrestal coming out first or do we "only" get the Forrestal?
                  - when will the proper -B F110 engine instruments be implemented, among various fixes in the B cockpit?

                  Thank you for the great update and I'm glad to be a part of this wonderful journey!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So much looking forward to this. Brilliant job HB!
                    Civilian Oriented Gameplay In DCS WorldMy Liveries
                    Dumb bombs require smart pilotsDCS PicturesDCS Videos

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Nice BIG update log! thanks

                      Any chance to have the planned option (hope is still planned) to give Iceman the "order" to fly in circles a point in the map, so we can jump to the back seat and use the LANTIRN from there? I mean, before having the final full update for LANTIRN Jester? Can be a great option and substitute for use the LANTIRN in SP in a better way without using the nice mod out there


                      Comment


                        #12
                        The Nozzle Detail is nothing short of magnificent. A labor of love by the geniuses...
                        Originally Posted by Larkis

                        “Imo im glad he is gone. He was a really mean, narcissistic and disrespectfull person. Everyone has to cheer him that hecwas a real tomcat driver and only his way is the best way. And when you question him or want to discuss stuff like "shutdown hud for landing" he get angry and offensive very fast. Im glad he is gone...”

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Outstanding update gents! Many, many thanks to Heatblur; the Tomcat continues to impress each time we jump into the pit. Your work is definitely appreciated.
                          JOINT TASK FORCE-ONE
                          XO, VF-2 "Bounty Hunters"

                          Comment


                            #14
                            damn i was really counting on tomorrow.

                            are you guys not doing tarps now? i remember you planned to do in limited fashion


                            what about jester as far as iff interrogate, and ability to use lantirn even the most basic functionality?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I am so hyped! Good work Heatblur!

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Awesome update HB!! Thank you for your continued dedication to this module! I am an extremely satisfied customer!
                                sigpic

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Really amazing and detailed update and we are just 14 days away from the 14A's. It's obvious the love and passion put to these modules. What a bunch of geniuses!
                                  ECV56 & 666GIAP_Chimanov-My youtube F-14 Tomcat tribute video=> https://youtu.be/4o5Ak0mroG0

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Thank you for this great update. Heatblur did such a great job with the F14.
                                    F-14 / AJS 37 / F-5 / MIG 21bis / F-16C
                                    MacBook Pro i9750H@4,2Ghz, 16GB, eGPU 1070ti, Oculus Quest 1

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Bloody Fantastic Heatblur, The -A looks phenomenal!!!

                                      One question, Will the Block 95-GR have any early USN liveries or is it exclusively Iranian?

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Fantastic update! So much great things are to come, even more than we expected. I can't wait for the F-14A, this is the variant I really wanted and soon I am going to get it.

                                        Comment

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