Well, after a two-month break I am back in business… again… ;)
The 3D landing lights are on the back burner for the time being, as they turned out to be a lot more work to implement than I thought. I need to address some higher-priority stuff first (bad texturing, high altitude performance, poly count), then we’ll see. Not a big issue I think.
The high poly count has been a source of complaint from many users who fly in multiplayer, and I recently discovered that the weaponry could have been modeled a lot more efficiently – although weapons are currently only visible in the highest LOD (which in itself is stupid). The missiles, rockets, etc. were modeled at an early stage of development, and were conveniently forgotten when I started optimizing the model for release. Sidewinders and Falcons are around 300 polys a piece, so no big deal as you only have 2 or 3 of them. But the 12 A/A rockets add up to 5200 polys… All in all, a lot of unnecessary polys. As I started to clone the weapons to include in lower LODs I realized that they would have to be optimized or remodeled completely. So, some work to do there.
High-altitude engine performance has always been a problem in both the FS9 and FSX versions of the flight dynamics. The current FSX release (j35bm_fsx_14.air) is a compromise which gives reasonably realistic performance up to about 5000 meters, then gradually starts to lose power until the aircraft stalls at about 12 km altitude. In reality, maximum Mach should be attainable at ~10 km, and the effective ceiling should be about 15 km (clean). The problem lies in the lousy simulation of turbojet engines in the FS flight model, which you need to circumvent by a lot of “cheating” with unrealistic engine speeds, etc. Still working on this, but it is extremely time-consuming work. And boring.
I really have no idea if anyone is actually reading these sporadic blog posts… Regardless, I will continue to report on what is going on in the project, and maybe open up a download section for development versions and related stuff.
Stay tuned /Tom