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    Developer Interview with Ciprian Bacioiu
    Skyviper
    By Skyviper,
    Developer Interview with Ciprian Bacioiu by Andre Ford Each day, thousands of people are faced with the challenges unemployment presents them. What some may view as the end others view being laid off as a new beginning.  Ciprian Bacioiu, a independent game developer, is trying to create a new beginning with his latest project. He states "I'm a Linux 1st game developer trying to establish myself in the gaming market as a developer of coffee-break games: Games you can play in your coffee break, intense and able to scratch a quick itch!" He is a lone developer working on his game in a workshop with his two cats RTFM and Wilson. This interview will share the tale of how unemployment provided a rare commodity to help him complete his project. The commodity is time and there isn't a lot of it left for the Bearded Giant to complete his new game called Space Mercs. The game will focus on a player's piloting skills as they get a chance to fly in large scale space battles. These battles will be filled with hundreds of ships, including capital ships as they engage each other. While a free demo of the game is available, in about 7 weeks the full game will be released for players to enjoy thoroughly either at home or while on their coffee break. Thank you so much Ciprian for taking the time to do this interview. Please tell us, how long you have been in the game development industry and what are some titles you have worked on in the past?
    I've been making games since 2006 and first entered the industry as a professional game designer in 2010 for Gameloft. There I worked on titles such as Nova 3, The Dark Knight Rises and quite a few more. Over the next 9 years I worked for companies like Mobility-Games/Disney (Frozen: Free Fall), as a freelance developer (game porting), Indie developer and even spent some time in the publishing side of the industry up till May this year!
    What motivated you to create Space Merchs and focus more on the player's skills as a pilot than other factors?
    Time is the biggest motivation. If I had as much time as I needed I would have developed Space Mercs as a 4X game - economy et all, however my savings only covered up to three months of development. As such I decided to lower my scope and do what I do best - offer the best experience I can deliver while focusing on a single core aspect. And in this case, what I wanted to achieve with the game is giving the player the feeling that he's a badass space pilot who can fly through intense areas while dodging bullets!
    On your Imgur post you mentioned that you were laid off while you're developing Space Mercs. Obviously being unemployed presents it's own challenges. So how do you cope with and or conquer the combined challenges of being laid off and game development?
    Being unemployed offers me access to a scarce resources in today's age - time to work on my own things. While holding a full time job, development can be sporadic. Nowadays I lock myself in my workshop with my two cats and tinker on my humble toys. I have the experienced required to get another job if I wanted too (9 years as a professional game developer) so I didn't feel the need to rush and jump on a new 9-to-5 job. Instead I calculated my savings and decided that if I have to go down, might as well go down guns blazing. Make a new game, release it and cross my fingers that revenue will be enough to support me for 3 more months so I can deliver another one.
    Space Mercs is looking awesome so far. It looks like a fun and casual game that can be very challenging as well. What are some features that players can look forward to seeing?
    My favourite thing to do in Space Mercs right now is to jump in on a huge 150+ space ship battle. The enemies don't all focus on you - you're really just another enemy ship for them, a speck on their radar. They pick their targets and engage other fighters from your team so you have the ability to do something you can't in most games - enjoy watching a huge space battle unfold. Ships blowing up, ships jumping in, huge battleships launching missiles - that is a sight to see. But things take a turn for the worst when you see the red light at the top of your cockpit turn on because someone is targeting you. And it's still a nice sensation, even while working on the game for 12-16 hours a day.
    There is a comment your Imgur post by Jimicus about Space Mercs which reads "Hey, it’s a cross between Asteroids and Elite!" What are your thoughts about that?
    It's so close to reality that I might steal the comment and use it in an official fashion! The funny thing is I don't have a powerful computer at home - I'm stuck on a mini form factor PC with an integrated GPU so I cannot play games like Elite Dangerous or X4 foundations. I can almost play X2 - the Threat with plenty of ships on screen. So when I began developing the game I wanted to make sure it works on an integrated GPU (Intel HD 4000) while looking good and supporting at least 100 ships on-screen even at those low specs! So saying that the game is a cross between Asteroids and Elite is extremely spot on! Just like Asteroids it works on pretty much every pc that supports Windows or Linux. And it resembles Elite dangerous in the game's cockpit form. I love Elite Dangerous, I so wish I could play it right now. But if the game sells decently enough (700-800 copies) I might just afford the graphics card upgrade to get a better GPU and play E:D.
    Speaking of the game's features, which was your most difficult feature to develop and what lessons did you learn from the process?
    The hardest thing right now is making it fair to the player; when you're in a battle bullets are everywhere. I'm only half-joking when I say that the only things that outnumber the projectiles on-screen are the number of stars in the background. When bullets come at you from behind well, it's hard to avoid them. I've spent the last two days working on the cockpit radar to find a way to track bullets from behind the player, so he can get an idea if something is coming towards him and roll/side boost out of the way.   Kind of a silly question here. Were you able to include all of the features you'd like to have in the game?
    The game has been in development for 1.5 months. Everything you see on the steam page or in the imgur post, or on my twitter, was done in that period. The entire game is built around the mechanics I'm working on now. Duel mode? That takes little to no effort outside of balancing the enemies in the game. Survival mode (everspace-esque) is the main gameplay loop with jump gates and the loadout screen. I believe I budgeted my time well enough to be able to add everything. Worst case there's going to be 1-2 weeks delay to account for proper QA testing of the game because I really do not want to release it unpolished.
    Sometimes, when we create things they may not turn out the way we wanted them to. However there are times when something unexpected happens. During development of Space Mercs, has there been something in the game that didn't work out the way you hoped it would but, in the end, turned out to be a pleasant surprise that you decided to keep in the game?
    Yes, initially, I wanted the game to play more like the first Rogue Squadron, on a planet. There's an early prototype of that here (https://imgur.com/gallery/MvBhJtD) and it was extremely fun. However ship pathfinding in-between the buildings coupled with performance issues when more than 20 ships were in-game ended up being a no-no. So I decided to just set the game in space and that opened up the ability to have battles with hundreds of ships. Which makes things more interesting.
    Depending on the success of Space Mercs, what are some other games that you would like to make? Would you ever bring elements back from classic games such as StarLancer, FreeLancer, or Wing Commander? At this points, things are simple for me. I need to sell about 700 copies of the game on Steam during the first month in order to have another 3 month runaway to make another game. Anything past that is a bonus that can be used/spent to extend and improve Space Mercs into something a bit more sandbox-y. Instead of receiving credits at the end of a mission and using them to upgrade your ship's hardpoints and internals I'd want to add the ability to do ware trading, and add more purchasable ships. I couldn't do this with my limited budget and time frame but if the game sells well enough, it's totally going in!
    Fun Question: If you had the resources and funding, what would be a game you'd really like to make? If you'd have asked me that question 4-5 years ago I would have a sure answer. Nowadays, I'm boggled down by experience and scope so I tend to think small and more granular. Back then I would have said that if money wasn't a problem and I could afford to pay a few artists I'd make a game in the vein of Dragon Age: Origns. An RPG that focuses on storyline and Character Development in which my players could fall in love with their party members and their personality. Now I'd just want to make something that's really fun and can pick you up after a hard day at work. Something you can play and come back to again and again on your own time and pace.
    Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share with your supporters? Please wishlist Space Mercs on Steam! With the way steam's algorithm works - the more wishlists I have, the more chances I get a better placement and better launch week sales. If you like the concept behind Space Mercs and you want to see the game expanded - or other games from me in the future, it's imperative you wishlist the game! It's the best way to support me at this point!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us your story and I'm sure the members here who are interested in Space Mercs would certainly love to show you their support.   We invite you to check out the links below and share your thoughts about Space Mercs    

    IL2 Sturmovik Update 3.101
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,
    Update 3.101   Dear friends,
    Today we have finished another huge update and it is already available to you. It includes the new war machines you can control - jet fighter/bomber Me 262 A Schwalbe for Bodenplatte, Т-34-76 made by UVZ factory in early 1943 for Tank Crew - Clash at Prokhorovka and airplanes S.E.5a and Albatros D.Va for Flying Circus - Volume I.
    Upping the exterior textures to 4К quality level for Bf 109 F-4 and Fw 190 A-8 are another neat feature, as well as adding visible crews to player controllable Pz.III Ausf.M and M4A2. All VR users get the long-awaited fix of an aircraft propeller that looked distorted with VR reprojection turned on. There are many changes in aircraft and ground AI. The level of detail of player controllable tank systems and their damage model is nearly final. And as usual, there are many improvements in FM and aircraft systems modeling.
    IL-2 Sturmovik team wishes you nice summer weather and enjoyable flying in our sim!  
    Main features
    1. Jet fighter-bomber Me 262 A "Schwalbe" is now available for all owners of "Battle of Bodenplatte";
    2. Albatros D.Va is now available for all owners of "Flying Circus";
    3. S.E.5a is now available for all owners of "Flying Circus";
    4. T-34-76 UVZ made in early 1943 is now available for all owners of "Tank Crew - Clash at Prokhorovka" (includes crew);
    5. Bf 109 F-4 exterior textures are now available in 4К quality, including damage, thanks to =BlackHellHound1=;
    6. Fw 190 A-8 exterior textures are now available in 4К quality, including damage, thanks to =ICDP=;
    7. Crew models added to M4A2;
    8. Crew models added to Pz.III Ausf.M;
    9. In VR, active reprojection won't cause a rotating propeller to flicker;
    10. The game launcher (non-Steam version) now offers more options (enabling or disabling VR, 4K textures, GUI autoscale and mods);
    AI improvements
    11. AI fighters may cancel the attack run when hit by a bomber gunner fire;
    12. AI fighters aim better when engaging a straight flying target;
    13. AI fighters open fire earlier when engaging a straight flying target;  
    14. AI fighters maneuver more carefully when covering bombers;
    15. AI keeps the formation much better;
    16. AI ground attack planes and fighters RTB if they have no ammo for forward-firing armament left;
    17. AI bombers open bomb bay doors during the bombing run only if there are bombs inside;
    18. AI bombers won't open bomb bay doors during the route by mistake;
    19. AI won't attempt to land on tank spawn points in multiplayer in case of an emergency;
    20. AI gunners fire only at targets selected as 'Engageable' (Mission Editor parameter);
    21. AI guns and tanks aim in a more realistic way, there is a slight fire delay after aiming and before re-engaging;
    22. Driveable tanks controlled by AI keep formation better, including cases of losing one or more tanks of a platoon;
    23. Ground AI can set and keep User Formation by mission command (current relative position of vehicles in the group);
    24. Ground AI has three new formations: line left, line right, centered line (relative to the group leader);
    25. Ground AI now correctly selects and uses APHE ammo (it used only AP ammo before);
    26. Ground AI won't fire at crewmen escaping from friendly vehicles;
    New features for player controllable tanks
    27. It's possible to limit the maximal gear by X and Z key;
    28. Enter key invokes the damage control overlay;
    29. Headlights state, engine damage and overheat, low oil pressure and battery charge, maximal selected gear limit are shown in the quick info interface panel;
    30. Lots of instruments and controls are now animated: odometers, service meters, engine revolutions counters, ignition switches, starter buttons, oil temperature indicators, amperemeters, voltmeters, fire detection lamps, radio tuning dials, parking brake handles, turret locks;
    31. Transmission damage affects the changing of gears, they become harder or impossible to switch;
    32. Oil system damage causes engine damage at a progressing rate;
    33. Cooling system damage affects oil and cylinder heads cooling effectiveness;
    34. Electrical system damage affects the functionality of lighting, powered turret traverse and engine starter;
    35. Engines have a heat model that is affected by damage;
    36. Cold engine yields less power until it heats up;
    37. An engine with overheated oil or cylinder heads accumulates damage fast;
    38. 'Warmed up engine' option is valid for tanks too;
    39. Fuel or oil leak could lead to a fire that can kill the crew and cause the ammo detonation;
    40. In case of fire, the crew uses fire extinguishers if there are any left. It takes up to 2 seconds using automatic fire extinguishers and up 5 seconds using regular ones;
    41. Damaged suspension springs or torsions can become lame;
    42. If the coolant is boiling, there is a visible vapor exhaust from radiators;
    43. A damaged engine can fill the tank interior with smoke;
    44. Firing the gun and MGs can obscure vision in the tank interior;
    45. Crew clothes, faces, hands, etc. can become dirty from smoke;
    46. The turret traverse speed decreases with the inclination of the tank, it may be impossible to turn the turret at a high inclination angle;
    47. The driver instruments functioning was updated;
    48. Powered (electric) turret traverse mechanism added to KV-1s and Т-34-76-UVZ-1943 with the manual traverse as the backup one. The powered traverse mechanism won't work if it is damaged, there is no power or the engine is off;
    49. Powered (hydraulic) turret traverse mechanism added to M4A2 and PzKpfw. VI Ausf. H-1 with the manual traverse as the backup one. The powered traverse mechanism won't work if it is damaged or the engine is off;  
    50. Backup (pneumatic) engine starter added to KV-1s and Т-34-76-UVZ-1943 that is used if there is no power;
    51. Additional (panoramic) gunsight added to KV-1s and Т-34-76-UVZ-1943;
    52. Backup gunsight (iron sights) added to Pz.III Ausf.M;
    53. The shaft between the flywheel clutch and the gearbox on M4A2 is correctly animated;
    54. Pz.III Ausf.M brake drums are correctly animated;
    55. Pz.VI Ausf.H1 engine cooling fans are correctly animated;
    56. Tanks won't 'jump' on rubble left from destroyed buildings;
    57. A rare issue that could cause a still functioning tank to appear destroyed, but with functioning turret has been fixed;
    58. A rare issue that could cause a still functioning track to appear destroyed has been fixed;
    59. A small visual issue (grey square near the gun gunsight) has been fixed for Pz.III Ausf.M and Pz.VI Ausf.H1;
    60. KV-1s paint color has been corrected;
    61. The motion of a damaged right track of Pz.III Ausf.M has been corrected;
    New features in aircraft physics, systems and animations
    62. Infinitely firing aircraft of other players shouldn't randomly appear in multiplayer anymore;
    63. Additional steps were taken that should eliminate a rare problem of another player plane being invisible before opening fire;
    64. PTAB sub-munitions effect on ground targets has been corrected;
    65. Damage calculations for AP, APHE and HEAT aircraft-launched rockets have been significantly improved;
    66. Physical models of all aircraft engines have been revised, many rare bugs were found and fixed;
    67. A rare issue that could crash the sim when all fuel was spent (or leaked away) on Ju-88 and He-111 H6/H16 has been fixed;
    68. A rare issue in P-47 turbocharger that could crash the sim was found and fixed;
    69. The error that caused the Flying Circus aircraft propellers to have more power than RoF ones has been found and fixed. The notable difference was found at lower flight speeds, but additional research showed that this error made during porting of RoF planes to Flying Circus more or less affected all flight characteristics of the Flying Circus aircraft. In this update this error is fixed, so flight characteristics of all Flying Circus planes fully correspond to RoF before update 1.034. You can see the updated flight characteristics of Albatros D.Va and S.E.5a in their in-game descriptions, while updated descriptions for other Flying Circus aircraft will follow in the next update when we redo all the required measurements;
    70. All aircraft: when starting or shutting down the engine with all three difficulty options "Cruise control", "Throttle auto limit" and "Engine auto control" turned off you need to move the engine controls during the startup or shutdown procedure yourself;
    71. All aircraft: wind noise sound with jettisoned or broken canopy won't disappear at 720 kph and higher speeds;
    72. All aircraft: new technochat message informs the player about the engine failure (when it shuts off by itself without player or throttle limiter input);
    73. All aircraft: new technochat message informs the player that the engine start command is ignored if the startup requirements are not met;
    74. Fw-190 D9 and Me 262 A: there is a tip in chat clarifying that the engine throttle is blocked from moving to cutoff position when the engine is on;
    75. Sopwith Camel and Sopwith Dolphin skid steering animations were corrected;
    76. Weight values listed for all large gunsights of Flying Circus planes and for the camera on SPAD XIII.C1 have been corrected;
    77. Weight values listed for additional Lewis MGs on Sopwith Dolphin have been corrected, speed loss information added;
    78. Moving horizontal stabilizers control levers or wheels can be heard;
    79. When an engine is turned off, the motion speed of a throttle lever with engine helpers turned on has been increased (it is now the same as its motion speed with engine helpers turned off);
    80. In multiplayer, you can hear the engine starter of another player. 
    Because of the huge amount of changes, the track and mission format was changed. If you're an author of a custom mission or campaign, you need to resave your creation (it can be done quickly using 'Convert missions to binary in folder' in the Mission editor).         Please discuss the update in this thread.

    Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
          Coming 2020, Microsoft Flight Simulator is the next generation of one of the most beloved simulation franchises. From light planes to wide-body jets, fly highly detailed and stunning aircraft in an incredibly realistic world. Create your flight plan and fly anywhere on the planet. Enjoy flying day or night and face realistic, challenging weather conditions.         For Win 10 and XBox https://www.xbox.com/en-GB/games/microsoft-flight-simulator

    The U-2 Dragon Lady
    Skyviper
    By Skyviper,
      The U-2 Dragon Lady may have gotten her start in the Cold War, but she's still a valuable aircraft to have in the USAF as she still has some advantages over modern day surveillance methods. In today's video, interested ones, will get a brief history of the Dragon Lady.  

    DCS Weekend News: 7 June 2019
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
          The Fw 190 A-8 is our next entry into our line of warbirds for DCS World War II! Designed for the German Luftwaffe by famed aircraft designer Kurt Tank in the late-1930s, the Fw 190 was the backbone of the Luftwaffe in both fighter and attack bomber roles. Powered by a large radial engine, the A version of the Focke-Wulf 190 was superior in many ways to the Bf 109s and Spitfires at the time of its introduction. In fact, this led to the development of the Mk.IX version of the Spitfire. The Spitfire LF Mk.IX and the Fw 190 A-8 make excellent counterparts for DCS World. The Fw 190 later evolved into the Fw 190 D-9, also available on DCS World.     Many of the Luftwaffe’s aces racked up their impressive kill counts in the Fw 190 A due to its impressive fire power, excellent low to medium altitude performance, durability, and ease of flying. It saw action on both the eastern and western fronts where it was both respected and feared by allied pilots. Armament included two fuselage-mounted 13 mm MG 131 machine guns and four wing-mounted MG 151/20E 20 mm cannons. The aircraft could also be loaded with unguided rockets and bombs. The A-8 version of the Fw 190 entered production in February 1944, and it was powered by a BMW 801 D-2 radial engine. In addition to excellent low- and medium-altitude performance, the engine was also very rugged. Along with the F-8 version, it also had thicker armor around the engine. The engine also received the C3 injection system that provided an emergency boost of 1,980 PS in short durations.   Key features of the DCS: Fw 190 A-8 Unmatched flight physics that allow you to truly feel what it's like to fly this legend. Highly detailed, six-degrees-of-freedom (6 DOF) cockpit. Interact with cockpit controls with your mouse. Accurate Fw 190 A-8 model, squadron markings, and weapons. Detailed modelling the Fw 190 A-8 instruments, weapons, engine, radios, fuel, and electrical systems. Battle the Spitfire LF Mk.IX and P-51D Mustang in single and multiplayer games.   Download and enjoy the Anton from DCS e-shop.     DCS: F-16C Viper Pre-Order on Steam Pre-order the DCS: F-16C Viper on Steam today and save 20%. Pre-order on Steam. Pre-Order Introduction Video The F-16C is a single seat, single engine multirole fighter that was developed in the 1970s. More than 4,500 units were manufactured and are operated today by 26 countries where the aircraft performs numerous missions that include air superiority, close air support, precision bombing, air defense suppression, reconnaissance and more. Few other aircraft can match its versatility, maneuverability, firepower, and huge production numbers. Nicknamed the Viper by its pilots, the F-16 was designed with a reclined seating position for high G tolerance and a single-piece bubble canopy for exceptional visibility and comfort. Its lightweight and powerful F-110-GE-129 engine provides a greater than 1:1 thrust ratio. Housed in the nose of the Viper is a multifunction APG-68(V)5 radar. The aircraft can also be equipped with multiple sensors such as the Litening targeting pod and HARM Targeting System (HTS). The Viper is armed for air-to-air combat with Sidewinders, AMRAAMs, and an internal 20mm 6-barrel Gatling gun. It can also be loaded with a wide range of air-to-ground weapons that include general purpose bombs, rockets, canister munitions, Mavericks, laser- and GPS-guided bombs, and more.  DCS World Open Beta Update This week we updated the Open Beta with the two primary items being the addition of the Fw 190 A-8 to DCS World and adjusting network code to better handle large number of units in a mission. Other highlights of this week’s Open Beta update include: Initial, work-in-progress wing tip vortices wakes was added. This must be enabled from Options Cleaned up a video rendering memory leak Improved AI taxi AI around obstacles Radio altimeter now accounts for when the aircraft is over a ship New sonic boom sound effects Added ZBD-04A IFV as part of China Assets Pack Carrier lights now illuminate in overcast conditions A-10C: fixed trim yaw with SAS disengaged UH-1H: door gunners no longer try to shoot through buildings to hit targets F/A-18C: HARM guidance fixed when target lock is lost, JDAM maximum range circle calculation fixed, corrected hidden SAM unit displayed on SA page, EW symbols displayed to A/A radar format, PRECISE mode for waypoint entry via the HSI, fixed AGM-88 motor alignment, FEDS cue for A/A gun in training mode, BATR cue for A/A gun HUD, and updated RWR and HARM threat codes to be more realistic. Most Hornet new features like JSOW and MSI for LTWS will be for next week. Combined Arms: Fixed tank destroyer hull alignment when engaging, gun positions synchronized in network play, re-arming times adjusted for several units, AI routing through buildings adjusted, fixed SA-13 aiming. Numerous third-party aircraft fixes, adjustments and new features for the AV-8B, MiG-19, F-14B, C-101, AJS-37 Viggen, and MiG-21bis. Updates to seven campaigns. Please see the complete change log here. Sincerely,
    The Eagle Dynamics Team

    Il2 DD Update Dev Blog 224
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,
    Dear friends,   Today's Dev Blog is really short - we're working on finishing the update 3.101 full time. This update will be very huge, its change list consists of more than 70 points already. Be warned by the way - because of the critical amount of changes, the track and mission format will be changed, so if you have interesting tracks convert them to videos beforehand. If you're an author of a custom mission or campaign, be prepared to resave your creation after the release (it can be done quickly using 'Convert missions to binary in folder' in the Mission editor). So, we have a lot of work on our hands at the moment, but it's not very exciting to tell about it. However, we have an interesting thing we can show you today.     The plan is to have the external textures of all Bodenplatte aircraft in 4K quality. This is possible thanks to new texturing techniques and the help from our community members =ICDP= and =BlackHellHound1=. For instance, today we can show you the Me 262 as you'll see it in the coming update - in all 4K glory.     See the world combat debut of our Me-262 at FS Expo 2019 in Orlando, FL June 8-9 Booth #505. Jason will be there putting it through its paces with a 6DOF motion-sim by Gforcefactory and VR.     You can discuss the news in this thread

Portal by DevFuse · Based on IP.Board Portal by IPS


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