Another week has passed and our Bodenplatte development progressed neatly during this short time. First, we have finished reworking the graphics effects system we told you about last week:
1. Fire effects improved for aircraft and ground vehicles, more dynamic and detailed;
2. Fuel leak effects improved (less noticeable, but more realistic);
3. Damaged engine exhaust effects improved (less noticeable, but more realistic);
4. Tracer smoke effects improved (more smooth and realistic);
5. Wingtip trails effects improved (more dynamic, less apparent beginning);
6. Water hit effects improved (more realistic);
7. Aircraft and vehicle hit effects improved (more difference between AP and HE ammo, more realistic, added debris);
8. Bomb detonation effects improved for 250kg + bombs, additional flash effect;
9. Water steam effects added for twin water radiator aircraft (Bf-109, Ju-87, Spitfire Mk.IXe, Pe-2);
10. Water steam overheating effects added;
11. Wrong mixture exhaust effects added;
12. Wood hit effects added for WWI aircraft;
13. Gunfire smoke effects added;
14. Oil leak effect adjusted;
15. Fuel leak effect on the ground added;
16. Water steam effect on the ground added.
Second, we have revisited the gunfire dispersion model and performed additional research on the historical documents covering the fire dispersion depending on the gun mounting. There are no new sources, but we have re-analyzed our approach and one problem became apparent - some sources provide fire dispersion data for single shots while others have data for short bursts. For some aircraft, the sources provide dispersion data for both cases - this allowed us to build a statistical model for single/burst fire dispersion ratio. Having updated the dispersion model, we're now able to tune the fire dispersion separately for single and burst fire. Of course, we've taken into account the fact that even when you fire a burst, the first projectile has the fire dispersion of single shot while the subsequent ones deviate more because they are modeled as shots in a burst. The fire dispersion increases with the gun temperature as before.
In the most cases, the fire dispersion has been already modeled using the burst fire data, so the changes in these aircraft will be hardly noticeable when firing in bursts, but the single shot dispersion will be lowered greatly: 2-2.5 times. On the contrary, the Soviet fighters were set up using single fire data before so now their fire dispersion will be increased 2.11-2.86 times depending on the gun and aircraft (this isn't that much at the effective fire distances though, see below). In addition, thanks to this research, the single fire dispersion of the heavy 30 mm and 37 mm guns has been slightly lowered while the burst fire values stayed the same.
It should be noted that all these changes (applied to each aircraft independently) gave the overall effect of reducing the difference in the fire accuracy among the different planes (for fuselage mounted and wing mounted guns that are close to the fuselage). Excluding the rare exceptions, the fire dispersion for non-overheated guns is 0.66-0.95 thousandths of distance. At the effective fire distances, this results in the fire pattern of around 1 ft or slightly more.
Surely, we have worked on the other parts of the sim as well. One month ago we could show you the 3D model of Me 262 without textures and a couple of weeks ago you saw the cockpit of P-47D that was untextured too, but today we present them to you in the game engine - the artists haven't finished the texturing and materials yet, but they are almost done. What can we say - while P-47D-28 cockpit is a bit overwhelming with all the details, instruments, controls and various information plates, the jet aviation pioneer Me 262 looks strikingly beautiful in the air. Here they are:
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Today we'll tell you a bit about what awaits us (and you) in the near future.
First, we plan to publish the new update soon, at the end of this month or at the beginning of October, that will bring numerous fixes and improvements for the existing stuff - Career fixes, multiplayer stability in tank missions, corrected German bombs for 1944 timeframe and new Fw 190 A-8 modifications we have covered in the previous Dev Blog. In addition, our programmers managed to improve the collision detection between various vehicles and objects without compromising performance and fix bugs, also, trees will stop or divert/slow projectiles. The graphics will get the attention as well - you can see some of the reworked graphical effects on the following screenshots:
New Bodenplatte aircraft, Bf 109 K-4 and P-47D-28, will be released to Early Access later this Autumn. New Po-2 Collector Plane and two WWI aircraft for Flying Circus Early Access, Pfalz D.IIIa and Sopwith Camel, will follow before the end of the year, provided we don't run into unexpected problems. Meanwhile, we're also working on the new Marschal mode for multiplayer which should make it more interesting and refreshing for all multiplayer oriented users of our projects.
New tank models take a lot of time to develop, so Tank Crew customers will get their new toys early next year, but it looks like they'll get a lot of other stuff in a short time frame starting with the map of the Southern part of the Kursk salient (see Dev Blog #195) and continuing with animated tank crew members (ETA: Spring) and their AI capable of controlling the new playable tanks (the work on it has already started). This will make possible to create the missions where the player tank will be a part of the unit fighting against the enemy tanks s which will have the same high level of modeling detail. The main tank systems and damage modeling should be finished before Summer. The work on the additional UI for tank and unit commanders has started too. And of course, there will be new tanks - our Saint-Petersburg based partner, Digital Forms, plans to have 4 of them ready before Spring:
Lend-lease M4A2 Sherman; T-34-76 mod. 1943 made by factory #183 (most probably, we're still researching the exact variant); PzKpfw IV Ausf.G made during Spring 1943 with additional armoured sheets (Schürzen); PzKpfw III Ausf.M also with additional armoured sheets. Today we can already show you the early WIP screens of it:
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While, as you know, we're working on several projects at once, today we'll tell you about our the current main one - Bodenplatte. The most important new tech we're developing for it is the FM improvement to take into account the air compressibility and its influence on the aircraft stability and handling that is noticeable at high speeds. The late war aircraft are a pinnacle of the piston engine technology and they can approach the sonic barrier, especially in a dive. And of course this new tech is paramount for our first jet - Messerschmitt Me.262 'Schwalbe'. You may have wandered will the new tech work for the existing aircraft released before - it certainly will, we always update all aircraft to take advantage of the new tech so they all have the same modeling fidelity.
Meanwhile, our artists are working on several 3D models simultaneously (some are nearly complete and the work on others has just begun): Bf 109 K-4, Me 262 A-1, P-47D-28, Fw 190 D-9, Hawker Tempest Mk.V and P-51D-25.
We also decided to improve the recently released Fw 190 A-8. It will be able to carry 1000 kg SC 1000 bombs with reduced ring stabilizers and "M8 Panzerblitz 1" HE rockets and you will be able to remove the nose-mounted 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, resulting in four different modifications of this plane:
Fw 190 A-8 (fighter)
Fw 190 A-8 Sturmjäger (better armoured interceptor)
Fw 190 F-8 (attack plane)
Fw 190 G-8 (fighter-bomber)
So, while it may appear we have only one Fw 190 A-8 in the sim, in fact, you'll have 4 different modifications. This is also true for many other aircraft - in one of the coming Dev Blog releases we'll compile the complete list of aircraft including the possible modifications.
Since the words are best followed with visuals, today we can show you the WIP screenshots of Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 'Kurfürst', Republic P-47D-28 'Thunderbolt' and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9 'Langnasen-Dora':
Our map designers also have something to show you today. In Dev Blog #193 we presented the early European map prototype. At the moment, th designers are working on the road network and settlements. The total amount of settlements will be around 300 including so many towns we have never modeled on one map before. To be able to finish this work in time while modeling the general layout of the cities and towns the special settlement block designer tool has been created. This is a small teaser, a Western European town made using this approach (this is not a particular historical town, but a test layout):
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