Just in time for the weekend the Firefly has been updated with TacPack and updated installers are now available at SimMarket and Store.Flightsim.Com. If you got it from PayLoadz drop me an email and I can send you a link to the new installer.
In a slight break from Flight Simulation an article I wrote on the RN’s highest scoring fighter has been put up at Hush Kit.
In other news I’ve stopped selling downloads via Payloadz. It was the only option I was using that charged a monthly fee while at the same time having the lowest sales so it was normally costing me to keep the store open. Anyone who brought from there will be able to get a re-download by contacting me via the forum.
Finally the TacPack update for the Firefly should be out in the next couple of days. The P3Dv4 version is done and I’m just waiting on some testing to confirm the cannon sound effects work in FSX.
The Firefly TacPack integration for P3Dv4 is now done, if you’d like to try it out now the files are available here. They just need to be copied into the respective directories. If it’s working the TacPack logo will appear on the loading panel.
The FSX update is in final testing and you can try it out, it should work in FSX and any version of P3D below v4.
I’ll have updated installers uploaded in the next week or so once I’m happy there aren’t any major SNAFUs! Any questions or problems add a comment.
Worryingly over a year ago I said I’d add TacPack to the Firefly! The screenshots above show I’ve actually got around to finishing it off by making the rockets, and bombs, work along with the guns. The eagle eyed will spot the rockets turn into HVAR after leaving the rails because VRS haven’t got a 60lb RP model yet.
There’s a bit of tweaking to some gauge code to stop the built in weapon firing from functioning if TacPack is installed (currently I get round it by using a different trigger button) and then I’ll issue an update. Basically if you have TacPack it will take precedence, if you don’t the original system should work seamlessly.
If you’ve ever used Henrik’s Global AI Ship Traffic you’ll have realised it’s a labour of love. He’s currently working on adding some Falklands Conflict shipping and was on the hunt for a Wessex HU5 to put on the deck of Fearless and the Atlantic Conveyor. So in a fit of enthusiasm I managed to convert the old Flying Stations AI HAS1 into a passable static model.
Not sure what the expected release is for the Falklands traffic but hopefully in the next few months.
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.
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!