Flight Sim News Roundup 12/20

There has been a lot going on in the world of Flight Sims, so in case you missed anything, here is a round up of some of the bigger news items of the past week. DCS has given us the Spitfire L.F. Mk IXc. Lots of additions to the latest in the IL-2 Series. X-Plane mends a 20-year-old issue and goes into Beta 3.

DCS :

First up is the latest update to DCS World 1.5 and the biggest addition being the release of the Spitfire L.F. Mk IXc module. Currently it is only available on the 1.5 branch and not yet available to 2.0 or Steam versions. Full release notes below, and as far as rumors go, there has been some clamoring about the possibility of MiG-19 and MiG-23 modules in development by RAZBAM. Before you get your hopes up, however, note that neither have been licensed yet, and the MiG-23, no pun intended, has been shot down. Although, the reason for the denial should provide hope, as it does imply someone else is already on it. So have no fear, someone is apparently working on it already.

Added support of DCS: Spitfire LF Mk.IX

  • MP. Wingman of client will take off
  • Fixed bug that caused to inoperative of mouse on external view after closing radio menu by selecting ‘F12. Exit’ item
  • Trigger “missile in zone” will work correctly
  • UH-1H. Fixed missions 06-07 for UH-1H
  • Helicopters AI. Corrected landing behavior. At final stage of landing the helicopter will not evade by nearest obstacles.
  • Mi-8MTV2. Fixed bug – cargo half-door disappear in static Mi-8
  • Mi-8MTV2. Fixed bug – inability to open cargo half-doors in Mi-8 player’s

Known issues:

  • Spitfire: Cockpit glass texture remains when moving part is opened
  • Spitfire: Sight brightness knob texture absent
  • F-5E: Engines start-up doesn’t work

DCS 1.5.5.60338.212 hotfix

Spitfire LF MkIX

  • Cockpit glass texture moved with canopy
  • Sight brightness knob texture added
  • Cockpit Engine sounds updateв

F-5E

Electrical system repaired

IL-2 Sturmovik Series:

Monday brought with it big changes and additions. For starters, those who have pre-ordered Battle of Kuban get to see the first of its new aircraft with the addition of the BF 109 G-4. As with the Battle of Moscow expansion, pieces will be available once completed, and it’s also good to note that the team are quite good at keeping to their release schedules.

Next biggest item on the docket is the switch to using the DX11 renderer. This brings with it some increased performance especially in heavy traffic.

The fabled Ju-52 is now available as an add-on plane along with it appropriate additions to gameplay as well.

Additionally scripted campaign missions are added, so mission creators rejoice, you now have the tools at your disposal to create away.

Last but not least, the scripted campaign Ten Days of Autumn is now available, also stay tuned here for a complete review of the campaign coming soon.

Main changes:
1. DX11 renderer added along with significant optimizations of the renderer and the GUI. This should increase FPS count in complex scenes up to 2-3 times;
2. Bf 109 G-4 fighter added, starting Battle of Kuban Early Access program;
3. Ju-52/3m g4e transport aircraft added;
4. New Scripted Campaign game mode added;
5. New “Ten Days of Autumn” scripted campaign added (it requires Battle of Moscow);
6. Flight statistics added to Missions and QMB game modes;
7. Mouse input is now exclusive (mouse cursor won’t move outside the game window). This change is optional and can be turned off in startup.cfg, [KEY = input] section, exclusive = 0/1;
Renderer changes:
8. Scratches and dirt on windows made more detailed;
9. 4K textures (4096х4096) are now supported;
10. Tree detail levels now switch depending on Field of View angle;
11. Forest rendering optimized using constant buffers;
12. Buildings rendering optimized using constant buffers;
13. Complex multi-part meshes (aircraft and cockpits) rendering has been optimized;
14. New complex mesh format reduces mesh fragmentation, greatly increasing performance, especially in dogfights;
15. SSAO replaced by TSSAO, reducing its performance load by 2-3 times;
16. Grass rendering has been optimized by using occlusion checks;
17. Reflections on water rendering have been optimized;
18. Light rendering has been optimized by using shader model 5. Point lights (like flares) have shadows now;
19. Light rendering method TiledShading 2.5D has been improved thanks to shader model 5;
20. Landscape memory footprint has been greaty reduced thanks to DirectX 11, allowing for making landscape mesh 4 times more detailed in the future;
21. HDR rendering has been improved on low graphics presets, improving the visual quality;
Physics, AI and systems changes:
22. Frontal weapons damage model made more detailed;
23. Switching to gunner won’t automatically engage autopilot while using mouse control (the plane will continue to fly straight);
24. Ju 52 can fly transport missions: cargo delivery to an airfield, cargo containers drop and special squad paradrop;
25. Ju 52 defence turret is now optional;
26. A rare bug when players could take damage long after taking off when an enemy bomb explodes on the airfield has been fixed;
27. MC.202 variometer has been corrected;
28. Fuel leak effect stops when no fuel is left;
29. Slow taxiing issue has been reduced;
30. AI shoud no more get stuck while taxiing;
Missions:
31. Mission format has been changed. Binary mission files .msnbin created earlier should be deleted, you can create new ones by opening your .Mission files and resaving in Mission Editor. If you used Complex Trtigger in your missions, delete .msnbin file first then replace all CheckEntities entries in .mission file by CheckPlanes, then resave your mission in Editor. Old track records can’t be played;
32. Clouds preset won’t disappear in Mission Editor after altering the cloud height;
33. Landscape lighting bug has fixed in Mission Editor;
34. Complex Trigger parameter Check Entity has been replaced by more logical Check Planes;
35. Complex Trigger can be used to keep track of transport plane unloading, container and paratrooper drops in a given area;
36. Complex Trigger messages OnObjectDroppedBombs, OnObjectFiredFlare, OnObjectEnteredAlive, OnObjectFinishedStationaryAndAlive, OnObjectDamaged have been corrected;
3D models changes:
37. Fw 190 A-3 official paint schemes have been updated and 4 additional official paint schemes were added by community member I./ZG1_Panzerbar (thank you!);
38. Bf 110 E-2 official paint schemes have been updated by community member I./ZG1_Panzerbar (thank you again!);
39. Bf 109 F-2 official paint schemes have been updated and 2 additional official paint schemes were added by community member Gustav (thank you!);
skin109_1.jpg skin109_2.jpg
skin110_1.jpg skin110_2.jpg
40. Spinner on Bf 109 E-7 skins has been corrected;
41. Rear armored window texture was corrected for Bf 109 G-2;
Other changes:
42. In-game FPS counter added (Backspace key by default);
43. Screenshot folder has been changed to <game_folder>\Screenshots;
44. Paratroopers and bailed out pilots can drown;
45. Multiplayer server owners can now alter the coalition balancer config file: \data\LuaScripts\CBalancer.cfg;
46. Second allied flight now takes off properly in QMB even if enemy is near.

X-Plane 11:

A 20-year-old bug squashed? Check it out.

OK, maybe my sense of humor is all screwed up after 2 weeks of straight coding, but this one is just too funny:

For X-Plane 11 beta-3, I just solved a bug (pointed out by Vit Zenisek) that has actually been in X-Plane for 20 years… and only affects the motion of the airplane when it isn’t moving.

Got it?

Here are the dynamics of the non-dynamic situation:

The tire force model in X-Plane is good enough to use in a driving racing simulator, as it actually gets right down to the vector along which the rubber is dragged across the pavement on the contact-patch of the tire. The dynamics are really quite good, especially in X-Plane 11 where I have taken tire-modelling updates from Stradale.

BUUT, this physical model has a fatal flaw: The model that simulates the detail right down to how the rubber interacts as it is being dragged across the pavement…. only works WHEN THE RUBBER IS BEING DRAGGED ACROSS THE PAVEMENT! DUH! So when does it NOT work? WHEN YOU ARTE STOPPED!!! HAR!!!

So, whenever an aircraft in X-Plane has been STOPPED, I simply ‘locked the airplane down’, bypassing the tire model altogether.

No motion? No flight model!

This SOUNDS fine, right?

WRONG!!!!!!

During the run-up, the plane is indeed motionless, but the forces acting on the airplane, via the landing gear, are HUGELY important!
As you add power, for example, the force opposing propeller thrust is COMING FROM THE TIRE CONTACT PATCH FAR BELOW THE PROPELLER!
This aft force, far BELOW the prop, opposing the forward motion of the prop, creates a torque that LOWERS THE NOSE when power is applied with the brakes on!
You sure feel this on short-field take-offs, when you add power, holding the brakes, and the nose hunkers DOWN.
Then, when you release the brakes, the nose POPS up as the nose-gear strut is unloaded and it is off you go!
So, even though the airplane is NOT EVEN MOVING during the run-up or power application before brake-release, the forces on the landing gear and resulting aircraft dynamics are CRITICAL to making the X-Plane aircraft behave, and feel, like the real airplane!

SOOOO, how do we BUILD a tire model that is based on MOTION, so that it works when the plane is STOPPED?

SIMPLE!

We simulate a WELD!

When the plane is stopped and the tire forces are adequate to HOLD it there, we imagine that the tire contact patch is WELDED DOWN TO THE GROUND right at the center of the tire contact patch! The force on the airplane from the tires is a damped spring that opposes any displacement of the aircraft from that welded-down spot! Any (small) displacement from that world-point of the tire contact patch is due to the flexing of the tire sidewall, allowing the axle to move ever so slightly fore and aft as the tire flexes under the loads of the engine, wind, a sloped runway, or whatever else it is that is trying to move the airplane!

SO, when STOPPED, we weld the tire contact patch to the ground with a damped spring simulating the tire sidewall that holds you in place with, indeed, some FLEX!
Then, as the brake is released OR the forces on the aircraft EXCEED the braking allowed by the tires… we switch over to the rolling or dragging dynamic tire models as needed!

Cool!

The whole thing happens seamlessly, and the effect is really quite amazing.
With the Cessna 172, for a short-field take-off, get all the way on the brakes and go to full power.. the nose starts to dive under the thrust!
Then, get OFF the brakes and the nose POPS up and oscillates as the nose strut unloads, over-extends from the aircraft inertia, and oscillates a few times until the motion is damped out, as the airplane starts to accelerate down the runway!

It feels JUST like the real plane!

You will get this starting in X-Plane 11 beta-3, and I am really annoyed we have not had this for the last 20 years!
(Because in the version of X-Plane you have right now, all of this is missing, which SUUUUUUUUCKS!)

So grab X-Plane 11 beta-3 when it comes out (soon) and try some of these brakes-on, full-power, brakes-off short-field take-offs in light airplanes.. it finally feels real!

Looks like I was already impressed with where they were taking this before, they really do seem to be pulling out all the stops there. Beta 3 is now available as well, and here are the changes.

Public Beta 3

Key Features & Improvements

  • XPD-7219 3rd party plugin brakes fixed.
  • Networking, crash, and joystick fixes.
  • New electrical system model changes.
  • XPLMNavigation API should work for third party plugins.
  • XPD-7070 Provide plugin per frame callouts even when paused.
  • Changes to .sit and .rep file types to make them stable across updates.
  • Pilot defined waypoints saved by the FMC now go into the user_fix.dat.
  • FMS will now correctly use GPS alt or barometric altitude for approach VNAV as per approach setting. Default is GPS altitude as for LPV approaches.
  • FMS fixes when using VNAV.
  • Backward compatibility in ARINC 424 interpreter.
  • Free global resources at program end to avoid memory leak false positives.
  • Fixed crash when loading DSFs while flying really, really fast.
  • Updated tire model.
  • A fix for weapons that have OBJs but not custom particle effects.

Additional Bug Fixes

  • XPD-7289 IP address of receiving network data was wrong.
  • XPD-7288 IPs are sorted in order and fixes missing IP address list.
  • XPD-7203 Crash with Open Air file.
  • XPD-7078 Fix for non-fogged interior objects.
  • XPD-7091 Failures now get applied only for the aircraft you set them on.
  • XPD-6851 Fix sky color through alpha texture in HDR mode.
  • XPD-6958 Changing plane altitude or speed in map changes heading as well.
  • XPD-7281 We now explicitly support approach targets that are not in our “nearby approaches” list.
  • XPD-7217 We can now separate the enum and order of the API.
  • XPD-6863 Take windows down to windowed mode before destroying them.
  • XPD-7060 Fix dev assert reloading 737.
  • XPD-7249 Fix for crash when you add a monitor while looking at Settings > Graphics.
  • XPD-7273 Updates to KSEA demo area.
  • XPD-7271 Removes G1000 C172 from installs.
  • XPD-7252 Update to LOWI demo area.
  • XPD-7064 Added ability to bind hat switches to any command, not just our suggested ones.
  • XPD-7061 Fix for setting aircraft heading via the inspector being wonky due to live editing the text field.
  • XPD-7268 Remove separate selection style from map.
  • XPD-7009 We now hide localizers in the map view that might interfere with seeing your “target” ILS.
  • XPD-7159 We can now select an approach at any time, and we no longer show downwind ILSes if applicable.
  • XPD-7245 Fixes dragging the plane icon on map when not paused.
  • XPD-7246 Tow plane does not tow us on the runway.
  • XPD-7256 Landing light switch dataref is a float.
  • XPD-7254 Fix for ATC window crashing when in “AI Flies Your Plane” mode.
  • XPD-7251 fix for crash in r-tree when the r-tree is empty.
  • XPD-7227 Fixed autobrakes.
  • XPD-7110 Stopped hover help tips from getting repositioned.
  • XPD-7221 Determine if an aircraft supports 2-D panel mode.
  • XPD-7236 Search in the command mappings table now includes children of matched folder.
  • XPD-7154 Fix for windowed -> fullscreen -> windowed transition increasing the window size and moving it.
  • XPD-7232 Fix for failures trashing your currently-loaded aircraft’s livery.
  • XPD-7210 Fix for crash when loading a bad .sit file in quickflight mode.
  • XPD-7211 Fix for crash caused by trying to load airport from prefs that no longer exists in your installation.
  • XPD-7212, XPD-7228 GPS has a problem with “degenerate” STARs that only consist of transition segments and no trunk route.
  • XPD-7233 Crash when changing location with IOS.
  • XPD-7032 Fix for “manual” network connections defaulting to port 0.
  • XPD-7186  Center map on PPOS if empty flight plan is viewed in PLN mode.
  • XPD-7193 Fix for missing NDB or VOR in flight plan.
  • XPD-7018 Restored ability for “optional” dialogs to be auto-dismissed on external visuals & machines under IOS control.
  • XPD-7083 We only display the “Save Configuration as Default” button if you do not have an image mapping for this joystick.
  • XPD-7044 Fix for incorrectly identifying monitor resolution when using mixed DPI displays.
  • XPD-7088 We now read your language prefs before falling back to prompting you to pick a language.
  • XPD-7184 AI can fly your aircraft again.
  • XPD-7220 Additional sounds added to C172 cockpit.
  • XPD-7250 Push-back working for AI aircraft.
  • XPD-7160 Stop labeling both ends of helipads in the map.

That’s all for the Flight Sim news round up for the week. Thanks for checking in, and be sure to check out the Ten Days of Autumn review coming soon.

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Grew up gaming, worked in gaming, now writing about gaming. Even though I've been around it all my life I still try to take a sane and reasonable approach when it comes to talking about games. When not reviewing games here I can be found wasting my day on Twitter.