Apologies I haven't been posting lately. What with holiday season, tech demos and bug smashing I simply haven't found time to get around to typing this.
This weekend was the first in many that I've had off to relax and put fingers to keyboard.
The last quarter has seen many challenges and great opportunities for us.
We had an excellent time at Duxford in September, even though we didn't have our kit there.
It was the first airshow at Duxford where the team could relax and actually enjoy the airshow without working.
I even got to take my kids on the Saturday who really enjoyed it.
TFC bought some excellent replica cockpits that work extremely well with DCS.
I spent the Friday before the show helping the guys get the P-51 cockpit up and running and it looked amazing and was a great hit during the show.
I'm looking forward to seeing what TFC do with these for future air shows at Duxford.
At the moment we haven't talked to TFC about what kit we will have there next year but it will likely be VR in some shape or form alongside the replica cockpits.
I'm in discussion with a few manufacturers on hardware so hopefully we'll have some great kit to show off next year also.
During the weekend we had the pleasure of meeting up with some of the ED team that flew over for the show.
Some of the guys from Polychop also came and we had a great chat about the future (no spoilers, sorry).
We landed a contract for a well know watch manufacturer that also happens to have a jet team in France.
They wanted the Hawk converted to team colours with a few brand badges here and there on and in the jet, as well as objects around a race course and aerobatic display where you fly along with the team. You may have seen some pictures on our Facebook feed.
DCS performs excellently with both of these scenarios and I'm looking forward to updating the Hawk aerobatics mission to fit that of an air show with the new DCS aerobatics scripting.
We're looking forward to attending the first event early next month to see how it all fits together with the public.
We will be looking to do more of these kind of events next year so keep an eye out on our Facebook page for event details.
We also had a few tech demos to military and civilian aircraft manufacturers and each and every one of them love DCS (of course they do) and the ability it has for realistic flight models and systems modelling.
Discussions are ongoing for solutions with those throughout this year and next.
We also some had challenges with our modules.
Hawk is proving to be like a band-aid that keeps peeling off at the corners. We fix one thing and patch it up and then another part of the plaster peels off and we have to focus on that.
One of the main issues we have is with the ASM code. DCS has changed a lot over the past year alone and it's become very clear that the original ASM code just can't keep up.
Bug smashing is one thing but this is something entirely different.
It affect you, the people flying it, and us the developer trying to keep it updated and flying well.
Hawk has taken way too much focus of the dev team than it should have trying to fix things, only for more things to break with a DCS update.
The ASM code should be robust enough that any changes to DCS won't affect the aircraft. It simply is not.
So what do we do about it?
Well this is my plan for the future. I can't give any timescales because at the moment I am still discussing with the team and ED the best way forward.
Quite simply we will re-code the ASM from scratch. Keeping it robust enough that any DCS updates won't affect core systems of the aircraft.
We have already done this with P40 and have not seen any of the kind of problems that we see with Hawk and DCS updates.
P40 has been a great test bed for the technology we have put in place internally within VEAO and this will carry over with all of our future modules.
The other aspect of the Hawk that has not been popular are the cockpit graphics (texturegate).
Well, you will all be pleased to know that the cockpit will also get a big overhaul in terms of graphics, on par with the P40 and other DCS modules.
Again the P40 is testament to the talented team we have on-board now, in terms of cockpit graphics level, and that team will at some point focus on Hawk. Again timescales have not been set yet.
Ah yes, dual cockpit is also on my agenda. If we're going to do stuff from scratch again then we will also implement the technology that ED has put in place with the L-39 to achieve that.
Some things are still being worked out but I for one are looking forward to giving some instruction whilst sitting in the back of your jet.
So, basically a big update to Hawk will happen in the future. It will be next year some time and when I have more details and timescales to share, I will.
And no, I'm not currently planning to charge for these updates.
On to P40.
Well the module is almost there. We are putting the finishing touches on her. Things like missions, auto start/stop procedure, training missions, updating the manual for weapons, ah yes weapons and the final checks of the checklist before a module can be released.
As I mentioned above, the technology we have put in place with P40 has been testament to the team thinking about keeping it robust and future-proof for any DCS updates. So far the technology has held up with the core systems.
Next step is the module verification which will happen very soon then it's out the door to you.
Many thanks to all of you that have been part of the Typhoon discussion. Please keep this discussion going with your thoughts and comments and we really enjoy listening and chatting to you about what we are doing for Typhoon.
The external model is now about 95% complete and work is already well underway on the cockpit model. When I have some more whitebox models to show you I will.
We are still in discussion with our partners on systems and this will almost certainly keep going on during the entire development cycle of Typhoon. That's the nature for modelling a front line fighter jet.
I received some updated whitebox images recently of the Bearcat re-model and she is looking stunning.
We will no doubt show some of these off next year when the time is right.
You may have seen some of the images Rob posted on our Spit XIV on our Facebook page (if you haven't, make sure you go check them out) and the texture work, again like P40, is excellent!
I've also recently received some whitebox images of the cockpit and WOW, you guys will be impressed. Again Gibbage is doing an awesome job and I can't wait for him to start texturing it.
All our other contracted modules are in various stages of development and I am simply amazed by the quality level of these models, even in whitebox stage.
Our focus is also very much on the VR experience and having a superb model and texture set is paramount to this.
P40 is currently main focus with the next module taking focus after that (I'll let you know what it is when P40 is out).
I'm going to leave it at that for now and hope that the Hawk fans out there will look forward to the update next year and those waiting for the P40 won't have to wait much longer.
I'm thoroughly enjoying flying her and no one wants to get her in your hands more than I do.
Have a great autumn/fall and I'll be in touch again with the regular monthly update next month.