The locking pin (red cylinder in the image) for the Spitfire family undercarriage rotated 180 degrees depending on whether it was acting as an uplock or a downlock. The sloped face allowed the gear strut to push the pin out of the way once it was rotated. The rotation was achieved via a chain and cog controlled via cables connected to the undercarriage controls. Originally I hadn’t planned on modelling these that accurately, because it’s in the gear bay and it seemed a lot of detail for something that’s mostly obscured. But as the alternative was trying to give the impression of a chain with textures I ended up doing it anyway. The picture below shows where it goes, the cables having been disconnected for removal.
I’ve done a short video that shows a) how impressive the animation is and b) how hard it is to actually see in P3D because of the undercarriage and wing being in the way!
The tailhook implementation in FSX and its successors is a bit unrealistic. I only realised this when I was developing the Firefly and couldn’t get it to land without nosing over. When watching from the external view I saw the hook remained fully down even after the wire is caught, which would require a much stronger structure in real life and cause all sorts of issues. The screenshot below shows how it affects the Firefly.
To get around this I added some code to the engine gauge dll that partially closed the hook after a cable is caught. Theoretically for the Firefly it should close fully as that’s how it worked in real life with the hook locking back up, but that causes the wire to release in FSX. That code worked fine in FSX and P3Dv3 and lower. For some reason though, when I ported the dll to P3Dv4 although all the other functions worked the bit that asks the simulator to be told when a wire is caught didn’t work. I didn’t realise this when I was doing my testing as, well, it worked before so why wouldn’t it work now, and isn’t it a long time since I’ve done carrier landings, that must be why they’re so sketchy! An hour or so with a test gauge telling me what was going on demonstrated that in fact, the one bit of the gauge that wasn’t working was the bit that controlled the hook.
After a bit of head scratching I’ve added the request to be told about the wire to a block that asks for lots of other information on the aircraft, and for no obvious reason that works. After a bit more testing everything seems to be working as it should now when you catch a wire. If you compare the angle of the hook in the photo below you’ll see it’s only about a quarter open which holds the aircraft at a nice flat angle even if you punch into the wires a ‘bit’ too fast.
This will all be making its way into the next update, once I’ve finished getting TacPack to work with the Firefly, in the meantime if anyone wants to replace the two affected DLL this zip file has them both. The GriffonII.dll goes in the Firefly F1/Panel folder, GriffonXII.dll goes in the Firefly FR1/Panel folder. These are for P3Dv4 only as the FSX version should already work.
I know some people have found deck landing a bit tricky in the Firefly, and to be honest the main reason I don’t is probably because I did it so many times in testing before I got it right! A useful instructional video from the 1940s is available on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxtXDDShjGs and is worth checking out for hints and tips.
Played with adding the A2A Rain Effects this evening, fairly easy to do once with some handy examples in the SDK.
TacPack integration is coming on, the round counter for the cannons is now animated so it should just be a case of adding the bombs and rockets. I also need to change my code so TacPack users get TacPack weapons effects and non-users get my original ones. Which I’m sure will be simple…
I haven’t upgraded to P3D v4.4 yet as TacPack hasn’t been upgraded yet but I’m interested to hear who’s planning on making the move. I want to update the Firefly with PBR textures but if not a lot of people are making the switch yet I can hold off until a later update as it’s likely to take a while as I’ll have to remake new materials for everything!
I’m slowly progressing the Seafire, but as mapping the undercarriage takes a long time and doesn’t make for great screen grabs I thought I’d take a break to add TacPack to the Firefly. I’ve got the cannons working so far, the next stage is to integrate it with the loading panel and cockpit switches, and then add rockets and bombs.
Practice runs were made taking out my frustrations on RyanAir! The gun sight is slightly low as it doesn’t account for the angle of the guns but that’s an easy fix.
The plan is to include this in an update with revised PBR textures for P3D v4.4 and the A2A rain effect for the canopy, hopefully in time for Christmas…
See that main gear leg, it’s been texture mapped. Exciting isn’t it? The overly observant may notice the brake pipe, locking pin drive, actuator jack, and inspection hatch which I’ve also added
I’ve had a request for the paint kit for the wings with the Temperate Sea Scheme camouflage layer included. A zip file with both wing textures in is available here. It has the RN WW2 scheme, the RN Post War scheme and the Ethiopian scheme, which was oddly different to the RN camouflage layout!
I’ve been getting back to work on the Seafire while waiting for the next version of P3D to see if it brings PBR textures. The render below is the port gear, the red cylinder is a stand in for the uplock/downlock rod while I aligned the locking arm which is the sort of banana shaped thing! This will all be partially hidden inside the wing when complete so I’m trying to balance getting the right level of detail with only modelling what will be seen.
The scan is from the Air Publication for taking the undercarriage apart, it’s point of view is slightly to the right of the render and looking up from near the wheel. I tried rendering from a similar position but the lighting was all wrong! Hopefully by the end of the week I’ll have this finished off with the actuating jack, animation, etc. and can get it into the sim.
So with the Firefly out in both formats it’s time to start back on the Seafire. I tried a quick export to P3Dv4 to see how it looks and there don’t seem to be any major issues at this stage. The gear and flaps even animated correctly on the first attempt which is small victor!
There’re a few more bits to add on the main gear, along with the aileron hinge, after which I can map the port wing before mirroring it so it looks a bit less lopsided!
At the moment she looks a bit more Spitfire Vc than Seafire II, primarily because I have really good plans for the Spitfire marks! For the Seafires I only have detailed plans for the differences, e.g. external strengthening, tail-hook, radio fit etc. so it’s easier to make a Spitfire Vc and then modify it.
I’m also playing with adding TacPack to the Firefly, including an idea I’ve got for an extra little feature. Hopefully that will all be ready before Christmas.
Update 2! There was an error with the loading gauge for the FR1 and NF1 which meant some loads wouldn’t display properly. I.e. most of them. I’ve uploaded a new installer with the correct gauge to both sites, a re-download and reinstall will solve the problem. Alternatively the gauge can be downloaded fromherejust extract the file and copy it to the Firefly FR1/Panel folder.
Update, links at the side now take you to the Bravo Zulu page for both stores from where you can choose which version of the Firefly to get.
The FSX Firefly is being uploaded to SimMarket and Payloadz tonight so should be available sometime tomorrow. The SimMarket link to the right now takes you to the Bravo Zulu page so should show the FSX Firefly once it’s been processed by them. The Payloadz link is here for some reason I’m having problems getting the product pictures to save there but there shouldn’t be any surprises if you’ve been following the blog.
I’m also in the process of setting up a FSPilotShop account, which was delayed while they moved, so there’ll be more options soon as I know people prefer stores they already have accounts at.