Today I'll be talking about my simulation background and how it all got started. From there we'll go into some more details about the recent work, what went into that, and how more planes both on the Allied and Axis side are receiving attention. There will also be a short mention from Xoom regarding some Steam preparations. Enjoy the read!
So we’re starting to get back into models again… a very exciting, yet exhilarating part of the “job” for me. As I hope most of you know, I have been deep in the guts of the 109 model looking for the infamous “109flop” that has plagued that particular series pretty badly for quite some time, along with a couple of the Allied rides that I will soon be looking into as well. Good times indeed. Let’s see, where do I start...
I guess the first order of business is to share a little about my sim background and my philosophy regarding airplanes and flight sims. I have been playing with combat flight sims since they first came out along with the PC in the early 90’s. I still own pretty much all of them. But when first modem to modem, network, and finally internet connections made head to head and multi-player available, I never looked back. Haven’t “played” against the computer since. So first it was SVGA Air Warrior in 1993, then Confirmed Kill where I became an ACM trainer in 1995. Joined Hitech, Killer, Gunjam, Pyro, and the rest of the WarBirds crew full time in 1996 and then was a founding member of Playnet in April 1999 when that team except Hitech and Pyro (that had already moved on to found Hitech Creations) left WarBirds to start the WWIIOL project. I took over doing plane and vehicle modeling from Mo in 2002, stayed with the project until Dec 2005, had a bit of a hiatus, and now here we are again 10 years later.
So now a bit about the models, what I did to the 109’s, the next planes up to bat, and the future.
First off, we really don’t “tell” the models how to act. The fact of the matter is that our job is to model the components that make up the model to historical specification, and if done properly, the models take care of themselves and display their own distinct characteristics. Since the planes are the most sophisticated, we’ll stick with them for this piece. All of the planes are built in pieces with specialized components for each.
Everything from castoring tail wheels, ammo loads and fluid tanks, all the way down to airfoil design type and area, percentage of chord for control surfaces, and degrees of "throw" are built as per the historical design blueprints and testing reports from each plane. I don't tell the models control surfaces how much force to apply (in particular yaw or elevator control for the 109 rudder in this context) we build the airfoil to spec and add it to the model. Every single component that makes up the model, and I mean everything, from the engines/superchargers and propellers, fuselage, all the wing and airfoil components, the, guns and cannon, right down to the pilot, his armor plate, and the radiators, besides each applying mass or weight at their proper x, y, z, coordinates within each plane model, also have x, y, and z, axis rotational inertia's based on their size shape and mass that have to be computed and entered into the model by hand.
All that comes together to determine the weight and lift vectors and rotational inertia totals for the model. If you build them right, they should fly “right” If you don’t, they won’t. Since being back, I had reviewed some of the older construction techniques, along with some changes in the last several years to compensate for them (no comment), and had run across a few anomalies here and there, and was pretty sure weight distribution and proper rotational inertias were where we’d find the majority of our gremlins. If the 109 series is any indication, that would seem to be the case. What I ended up doing was primarily to research and re-verify proper weights, dimensions, and placements for all of the components (engine, prop and hub, radiators, armor plate, etc) within the airframe and recalculate the x,y,z rotational inertias of each based on those new numbers using motioneering inertia calculator.
Checked all airfoil components for proper wing areas, aspect ratios, and drag areas. Found a small issue here with wing drag area and fuselage aspect ratio causing the uncharacteristic speed loss with increased AOA as well as higher yawing effects from slat deployment. Made aileron, elevator, and rudder throws historical again as well as reduced control input response times back to original (pre-1.29) response speeds. Last but not least, verified same overall weight, speed, and climb performances as before my edits. And that was pretty much it.No power, thrust, wing/stabilizer areas, or overall weights were changed, so turning radius (mass vs max Cl) are still the same.
As mentioned in the road map, after a quick pass with the P38, P39, and 110's, ALL FM's will get a review but on a tier by tier schedule, and as it best fits within the rest of the production priorities. Speaking of the Bell… I don’t know what sort of improvement to expect out of it. Remember, it has the majority of it's mass (engine) behind the CG and the pilot, where the 109 and all the other planes have it hanging well out front forward of the wings and CG. Personally, I feel it’s still going to be somewhat more unstable by design as it was historically. How much so remains to be seen after the same treatment as the 109's.
Think that about wraps it up. If any other questions or comments, feel free to share them in comments below.
Xoom: Starting this coming week we have a big announcement to make that will require the community's support in order for us to prepare for Steam and be as successful as possible at it. We have lots of work to do and finally we are approaching that moment of truth. Stay tuned for more details and we appreciate your awesome support!