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FastCargo

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Everything posted by FastCargo

  1. View File B-2A Spirit (Version 0.90) B-2A (Beta) by FastCargo. ********************** Version 0.90 *********************** SF2 Version for Jul 2013 Patch. Original model from tf3dm - 3dregenerator Modifications to import into TW sims by FastCargo Textures and most decals by FastCargo Cockpit, ModPilot, and Aces II seat from B-1B Redux Package by Dels, et al Included weapons from The Ordinance Shop II by 331KillerBee and FastCargo Hanger and Loadout screens credited to the respective individuals Thanks to ST0RM for high res photos allowing me to complete the area around the cockpit Templates for all textures and decals included Any errors are mine... Aircraft include: B-2A - All 21 tail numbers are included in the Block 30 paint scheme (operational). Notes: This release is a beta, and as such, is somewhat incomplete. The cockpit is from the B-1B. A new weapon has been included, the GBU-57 Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP). Big boom...but only one per bay. JASSMs have been slightly modded to have more realistic flight performance. The weapon bay loads have been built to realistically hold the proper number and types of weapons the real B-2A could carry. The FM has been tweaked to allow the player and AI to fly with reasonable accuracy. There are still a few bugs...mainly the AI likes to be nose down during the approach and landing. Also, there can be weapon bay visual errors when the AI is dropping weapons (ie the bay doors may not open). The weapon bay errors are limitations in the code that can't be fixed...it has to do with more than one weapon station using the same bay door animation slot. We are still working to squash the remaining issues...and one day we will have a proper cockpit for this machine. Have fun...report any crippling bugs (except trying to use it in SFP1/WOV/WOE/WOI...you're on your own) in the release thread at CA. FC 07 Jul 14 Submitter FastCargo Submitted 07/08/2014 Category Other  
  2. F-35A/B/C Lightning II V 2.5 for SF2

    Version

    6,243 downloads

    F-35 A/B/C for the 2nd Generation ThirdWire sims...beta Version 2.1. Very similar to Version 2.0, reformatted to SF2 standards with Weapons, Guns, Decals. Also, several bugs fixed in all 3 models, including nozzle animations, carrier operations, etc. Please contact us at CombatAce if you have issues not addressed in the readme or previous releases. 23 May 09 FastCargo Version 2.2 The weapon editor for SF2 did not like the naming convention for the F-35 drop tanks. So I changed the names, edited the data.inis and now they are fixed. Also there is an avionics fix in there that goes in each versions folder as well. Delete the old drop tanks in your SF2 weapons folder and drop these in. Then drop the data.inis and the avionics.inis in each version of the F-35 and overwrite. F-35C sound fixed. Various ini fixes by Crusader Dave (USAFMTL) 29 May 2009 Version 2.3 Fixed gun naming issue. Dave (USAFMTL) 3 Jun 2009 Version 2.4 Feb 2010 Updates By Jat Version 2.5 Apr 2010 RWR fix F-35A Engine Sound Fix
  3. XFV-12_DATA.INI

  4. F-15 Super Pack (Version 2.4)

    Version

    7,073 downloads

    F-15 Super Pack for the SF2 series ****************** Version 2.4 **************************** Added many skins by JAT to the F-15C_85 and F-15E_04 ****************** Version 2.31 *************************** Minor issues fixed. ****************** Version 2.3 **************************** F-15E_04, F-15SE, F-15SG updated with proper Sniper Pod model, skin by JAT81500. ****************** Version 2.2 **************************** Updated to June 2010 Patch standards. Cockpit view issues fixed. ****************** Version 2.1 **************************** Several early variants of the non-Israeli Eagles added. You will need to have SF2E to be able to have a cockpit for these early versions. The stock F-15A ini files included with SF2E has also been tweaked to take advantage of the 3rd party effects in this aircraft pack. There may be a way to use the Baz cockpit included in SF2I and/or use the Eagle/Baz cockpits in WOE/WOI...however, we cannot provide support for this due to time constraints. Additional thanks to USAFMTL for indulging me in my obsessive/compulsive disorder by helping decal every variant... ****************** Initial Release ************************ Version 2.0. Supersedes every Eagle released for the ThirdWire series with the exception of the stock ThirdWire F-15s and the F-15 ACTIVE. Includes the F-15C, F-15D, F-15E (2 versions), F-15I, F-15J, F-15DJ, F-15K, F-15S, and F-15SG. Be advised, uncompressed, this file will take up 2 GBs on your hard drive. Simply drag and drop into your mod directory, allow overwrites, and read the readmes! Thanks to the following folks: TK - For the ThirdWire series of sims. The Mirage Factory - For the nice F-15D MSIP aircraft...in particular Flying Toaster, wpnssgt, and Dave for making the F-15 MAX files available for me to play with. Kei Nagase - For the awesome skins for the F-15 ACTIVE. AleDucat - For the nice ACES II ejection seat models. Deuces - For the F-15 Afterburner and weapon effects. Diego - For the Modern USAF Pilot skins. Fubar512 - For the FM work. JimmyBib - For the F-15C cockpit flight control textures. MoonJumper - Avionics work. Sundowner - Textures. USAFMTL/Dave - Decals. Wpnssgt - Models, Textures. Kesselburt - Original F-15C cockpit. Kout - Loading and Hanger Screens. Kct - Textures and decals for the F-15SG. Brain32 - Improved/new textures for F-15C cockpit. Mago - F-15E Cockpit. 331KillerBee - SF2 Weapons Pack (basis for some of the weapons included). Lexx Luthor - Siberian Sky Experimental 3-D Rocket Exhaust JAT81500 - F-15E Cockpit avionics and HUD work. To my fellows at Combatace for helping me beta test and work out bugs. Any errors or mistakes are entirely mine. FastCargo 12 Jan 10
  5. Look! I'm a console player now!

    Well, sorta... FC
  6. As some know, and maybe more need to find out, the only program that will create a 3d object that Strike Fighters can use (with the ThirdWire exporter)is called 3DS Max, specifically 3ds Max 2009, 32 bit (noted as MAX), to make the latest versions of files the ThirdWire sim engine can use. NO other program can be used to create objects directly. However, 3DS Max is a four-figure cost program, and even the student version (if you can buy it) is a mid 3 figures. As such, it is out of legal reach to most. So, some folks try to create files in other, cheaper (or free) programs and then convert them to something that MAX can read. However, most conversions result in loss of data or distortions, or worse, resulting in lots of work for the person with MAX, sometimes to the point that creating a new model would have been easier. Which means, a lot of times, most folks with MAX are not willing to take on conversions for other people.because of this. The reason is that from the start of model building to the final export to the ThirdWire format, the following things occur: Construction of the overall model Cutting the model into specific parts (wings, ailerons, etc) Smoothing the parts Assigning pivot points (hinges) Linking the parts together in a hierarchy tree Animations where needed (landing gear, canopy, etc) Texture mapping - telling the model how to wrap a 2-D picture onto a 3-D object Assigning textures/materials to the model Most 3d modelers will tell you that other than the actual initial construction and cutting of parts, the most time consuming, tedious part of making a model is the mapping. Unfortunately, most conversions from other formats lose exactly that...requiring the MAX user to rebuild the mapping from scratch. I've done conversions from a few other formats before and dropped them because I had to redo the mapping...none for me thanks. However, I have very recently come upon a technique that allows files made in Blender (a free and powerful 3D object program) to be converted to MAX with no loss of mesh data or mapping. Instead of conversations from other formats now consuming several days, a conversion from a Blender object to a object ready to be used in a ThirdWire sim can take a day at most. The MAX user need only reassign pivot points, animations, hierachies and textures...then exporting the file to the ThirdWire format. What this means is that the bar for making custom aircraft, ships, buildings, etc, is now within anyone's reach. If you want a custom object...you can make it (including the 3d object building, textures, and ini entries) all with free, legal, open source programs. All the MAX user you ask politely to convert your model for you needs to do can be done in a day, or more than likely, just a couple of hours. But you need to do the other work. If you're not willing to put in the effort...don't expect anyone else to help you get there. Interested? Respond here...
  7. F-111 Super Vark Pack (Version 2.4)

    Version

    3,024 downloads

    Super Vark Pack by FastCargo ************************ Version 2.4 ****************************** Added - Proper serial numbers for Aussie F-111s by Dels. Compatible with SF2E Expansion Pack 2 and Jan 2011 Patch. ************************ Version 2.31 ****************************** All F-111s are considered to be at Version 2.31 (Compatible with the SF2 June 2010 patch). Works for all current versions of SF2/V/E/I as of the June 2010 patch. Due to significant changes, readme was combined, revised and simplified. Note on the F-111A, F-111C(Early) and F-111K: These three variants could carry an interal gun mounted in the BombBay. However, if you mount the gun, you cannot have bombs or a forward ECM pod. If you load bombs you can have a forward ECM pod as well, but no gun. Be aware of this when customizing your loadout screen. Note on the F-111A, F-111D, F-111F, EF-111A: These versions have been crafted to be specifically compatible with the SF2V Expansion Pack and NatoFighters 4 mods in their current state (as of 7 Nov 10). They should be able to directly replace the versions currently in those mods. Their capabilities have also been adjusted to reflect real world capabilities, which may affect gameplay. If you decide to use them in the mods, make sure to backup your old versions first! I've been testing them and they seem to work just fine, but obviously I can't say that it will work on every install. To use them, just copy the specific aircraft directories, specific aircraft decal directories, and everything in the Weapons folder (except for the AGM-69A). Various parts of this super pack done by the following folks: Skins - JAT81500, Nicky, Spinners, EricJ Decals - USAFMTL, Sundowner, Nicky, Spinners, Dels FM - Column5 MODUsaf Pilot - Deigo Pit - NormanKnight Original model by Paco and Wpnssgt Updated models by FastCargo Initial SF2 Upgrades (including RWR)- USAFMTL and STORM Avionics and Gunsight - MJ and The Mirage Factory Sounds - The Mirage Factory Hanger/Loading Screens - USAFMTL, FastCargo, Nicky, Spinners, Sundowner Drop Tank Tweaks - Sundowner Because this is a large and inclusive pack, there may have been things missed. Please post if you find something. FastCargo 06 Feb 11
  8. FastCargo's Helicopter Lesson

    How a supersonic pilot flies at 0 knots (a hint...not well). Back last year, during vacation time, my significant other 'gifted' me with an introductory helicopter lesson for my birthday. Said vacation time including the flight would be done in Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California. The school willing to take on this monumental task of taking a fast jet operator and slow him down is (redacted due to embarrassment of actually letting me fly with them). This is the story of that 30 minutes. As with all flying stories, it will conform to the fighter pilot 'rule' that at least 10% of the story is true. Your author here has had real world experience in many types of fixed wing aircraft, from soloing a glider to operating supersonic multi-ton bombers, with just about every type of fixed wing in between. Pictured: God's gift to aviation. Rotary wing? Well, I grew up in the world of LHX, Apache, Jane's Longbow, Black Shark and several other PC based helo simulations. So I was well prepared, right? Pffft...helo's are easy. My steed for today would be the Robinson R44, a 4 seat, piston powered light helicopter. Specifically, THIS helicopter. The R44 has proven to be very popular all over the world due to its price, ease of maintenance and relatively benign flight characteristics. But my helo simming has all been combat aircraft, so I felt it needed some 'improvements'. Seems legit. Now that I was in the proper mindset, i was introduced to my instructor, an older gentleman by the name of TC. He spoke with an Eastern European accent, and as we got to talking, I found out he had flown helos back before 'the wall' fell. He named what he had flown 'stackin' which I didn't understand at the time. Unfortunately, I have no good pictures of him because the withering look he would give the camera caused it to glitch every time. I found out after my flight that TC is a nickname given to him by the other instructor pilots and means 'Taught Christ' (to hover). And that 'stackin' was actually 'Stakan' or 'Стакан'...which roughly translates as "Drinking Glass"...a name given by Mi-24 pilots to early models. Perfect container to hold some fine wine. With the preliminaries out of the way, TC asked what kind of flight I wanted...a general 'forward motion' flight over Lake Tahoe, operating the helicopter like a light aircraft but getting to see the sights, or actual 'hover' instruction, where the majority of the flight would be only about 10 feet off the taxiway. Of course, I selected the 'hover' instruction...what's the point of a helo flight if you don't hover. I immediately received the warning that the 'hover' flight was a lot more work. How little did I know. After that, I was given a FAA mandated brief on the dangers of unloaded flight. In a nutshell, in a two bladed helicopter, during forward flight, if the cyclic is suddenly pushed forward, the aircraft will unload much the same way a fixed wing aircraft would. The difference is that an uncommanded roll can occur, and the initial reaction of using cyclic to counter the roll may A) not work at all and B) cause the rotor to flex past limits and hit the rotor mast or another part of the fuselage. Noted here in the Robinson Safety Notice SN-11 (revised November 2000): Which basically is saying that if you push too far forward too quickly, you may cause spontaneous disassembly of the aircraft. Of course, I was assured that this would take some effort to achieve and so rarely happens. Sure. And they were so glad I still wanted to fly with them that they even wanted my autograph! The paper I signed had wording on it, something about "hold harmless"... Now we were off to the helo! As I recalled from my flight sims, the collective was like a handbrake, with a throttle thumb wheel, the cyclic and rudders were controlled by a stick and pedal arrangement similar to most fighter type aircraft. Annnnd...not so much in the R44. Is that a yoke? I've never heard of a helo controlled by a yoke... And why is there just one stick and it's between the front seats?? What kind of crazy helo is this?!? Who signed me up for this flight anyway??? Did I mention I had recently increased my life insurance coverage? Turns out, the 'v' part of the 'yoke' doesn't actually do anything directly. It's a clever way to have dual flight controls without having dual control sticks. Instead, there is one cyclic control stick, and the 'v' merely places a handle the pilot holds in front of him as it would be in a conventional helicopter or aircraft. In practice, it doesn't feel any different than a normal flight stick (except you can't fly it with your knees). It was time to get flying! Startup reminded me of my initial training in a Cessna...even down to keeping the door open and calling 'Clear!' before engine start. The initial part of the flight was a 'box' pattern at the standard VFR altitudes in an aircraft. TC flew most of this part, with me taking the controls at altitude to start getting familiar with how the aircraft felt. The procedures during this part were similar to how you would fly something like a Cessna, with the exception that 'taxiing' a helocopter is still an airborne exercise. I found for the most part, the helo felt lighter than a Cessna in overall mass, and at speed, seemed to fly like you would expect a light prop to fly. The exception was if I was ham handed with the cyclic (lots of overshoots). The rotor would audibly create a 'slapping' sound, with an associated vibration. A combination of aerodynamics and physics unique to a flexible rotary wing causes this phenomenon. If you're rattling like that, you're not being smooth. Opening a carbonated drink would not have been a good idea on my flight. Don't be this guy. After the initial intro to the aircraft, we came back to the airport and settled on the taxiway...way the hell away from any buildings. Almost like we had to give me plenty of room... My wife and friends stopped taking pictures after a while because I was more or less sitting there, from 0 to about 10 feet, and not moving much at all. In the cockpit, it was a different story. Something that still has not been able to be conveyed completely successfully in a PC based flight simulator is the feeling of inertia and mass. Oh sure, lots of PC sims have tried to a lessor or greater extent to mimic this using physics models. Even multi-million professional simulators have limitations in this regard, and the comment is always how the "sim" doesn't quite fly right. Nothing yet has quite been able to truly master the combination of inputs your somatosensory, semicircular canal, and otolith organs provide to augment the visual picture. My actual flight experience has mostly been in aircraft that weigh at least 9,000 pounds, with the majority being either 10,000 - 12,000 lb aircraft or 200,000 - 350,000 lb aircraft. I've had experience in aircraft outside of those ranges, but they are mostly outliers. The feeling of mass behind my inputs is a tangible factor in my crosscheck. A R44 grosses out at 4,000 lb. We were probably closer to 3,000 lb all total. My typical fuel loads in one tank are higher than the entire weight of this helo. I swear that I would just belch and the damn thing would change its flight characteristics. We started with one axis at a time. Collective only first, then rudder only, then cyclic only, while TC would hold the other controls. Then combinations...collective and rudder, cyclic and collective, cyclic and rudder. And finally, all 3 together. This was all needed to just try to keep the helo on the same spot on the taxiway, holding a heading, and staying somewhere within +3 feet of altitude. Any twitching on one axis immediately required an input on another axis. There were small triumphs...momentarily keeping it in the same general space. "I've got it in a steady hover!" "Holding 50 degrees off heading." "Dammit!" I was basically doing the whole 'patting my head, rubbing my stomach' thing, while on a tightrope over a lake of fire. Balancing a pencil on its point...which is also on fire. TC was infinitely patient..."Relax your grip", "Small inputs", "Keep your crosscheck, don't channelize". Yea, yea, I know that, sheesh!! Wait, that's almost the exact instruction phrasing I used to use on my students back in the day. Dammit, I sounded like a giant pain in the ass. So this helo flight not only was humbling me in the present, it was retroactively giving me grief for the past. "I suck." "You have always sucked." After about 15 minutes of this "exercise" (so called because I lost 10 lbs of water weight), TC decided it was time for some instructor demos. He shows me a rapid acceleration, where he uses of combination of collective and cyclic to move forward quickly. Of course, as anyone knows most helos will nose over dramatically to do this...which we did at 10 feet altitude. All I could see was taxiway, really close going by really fast. I swear I saw ants that were blue shifted whizzing by. Pic corrected for redshift. Then, he did a demo of flying backward...again at 10 feet. Next, a demo of landing and taking off of a hill. Yep, first land one ski and then let the helo 'tilt'. Taking off is the reverse...enough collective to get the helo level first with one ski still on the ground, then lift off straight up. The final demo was going back out to the pattern, where I got to fly the helo some more at altitude, then he showed me an auto-rotation. Here's what it felt like: The timing for the flare has to be fairly tight...too soon and you'll run out of lift before you're close enough to the ground. Too late...well, that's self critquing. It was an eye opening demo...though not as abrupt as I thought it would be. It helps that the R44 is pretty light overall. After that, I practiced hovering a few more times (which I sorely needed) and finally, TC 'taxied' us back to the ramp. As we staggered out of the helo, I asked TC what the requirements are for getting a private helo license. He said fifty hours is the minimum before a checkride. But then he looked me in the eye to say some people probably need more hours than that. The only helicopter they would trust me with...right up until I dropped it. And thus ended the adventure of me flying a helo. It was a great experience, that reinforces the lesson that less speed doesn't always mean less challenge. It also shows that although we have come a long way in PC based simulation, it is still better as a supplement than a substitute for the real thing. I would recommend that anyone go out to try the real thing...most flight schools (fixed wing or helicopter) offer the 'intro' lesson at a substantial discount. Keep 'em flying!
  9. Version

    291 downloads

    Version 1.0 Thanks to JimmyBib for the original suggestion. This is a mod to help add 'parts' to aircraft using the pilot method. What this does is solve the problem of add-on parts 'disappearing' when an aircraft is a static display. Instead, you must add the parts as ejection seats, so you need a pilot model. However, normally you would have to find a way to make the pilot hidden from view. This file solves that problem. It's a 0.1 meter box that is totally clear, so it can be mounted anywhere. In addition, the polycount is minimal, so your frame rates won't be affected. Instructions: 1. Copy the Fakepilot.LOD and CompletelyClear.TGA to your Objects/Aircraft directory. That's it. It's now ready to be used for any 'addon' parts you decide to add. Instructions on how to add external parts to an aircraft. Basically, we are going to make a new new pilot position, with your 'addon' part as the ejection seat. An example from the A-4L_data.ini. First, determine what you want to call the new mounting area...for the A-4L, I decided to call it the AvionicsHump Second, add this line (as an example) to a component section (Nose, Fuselage, etc): SystemName[XXX]=AvionicsHump Now, go to the Pilot section and add the following: [AvionicsHump] SystemType=PILOT_COCKPIT <---- Will always be this PilotModelName=FakePilot <----- Will always be this name Position=0,0,0 <----- Doesn't matter where...it's a clear box SeatModelName=A4LAH <---- Model name of the pylon/hump/canard SeatPosition=0.0,3.82,0.825 <---- Coordinates where you want it to show SeatID=2 <---- Used to determine which pilot model 'disappears' when in cockpit view. Make sure it's something other than SeatID=1 Save the new data.ini. Make sure the LOD of your hump/pylon/canards is in the Objects/Aircraft directory. That's it. Advantages of this technique: Idiot proof...you can't unselect them, you can't jettison them, they will ALWAYS load with your aircraft. Don't need to make weapondata.ini entries (no fake weapons). As a bonus, no other aircraft could use them either. FastCargo
  10. File Name: F-15 Super Pack (Version 2.4) File Submitter: FastCargo File Submitted: 14 January 2010 File Category: F-15 F-15 Super Pack for the SF2 series ****************** Version 2.4 **************************** Added many skins by JAT to the F-15C_85 and F-15E_04 ****************** Version 2.31 *************************** Minor issues fixed. ****************** Version 2.3 **************************** F-15E_04, F-15SE, F-15SG updated with proper Sniper Pod model, skin by JAT81500. ****************** Version 2.2 **************************** Updated to June 2010 Patch standards. Cockpit view issues fixed. ****************** Version 2.1 **************************** Several early variants of the non-Israeli Eagles added. You will need to have SF2E to be able to have a cockpit for these early versions. The stock F-15A ini files included with SF2E has also been tweaked to take advantage of the 3rd party effects in this aircraft pack. There may be a way to use the Baz cockpit included in SF2I and/or use the Eagle/Baz cockpits in WOE/WOI...however, we cannot provide support for this due to time constraints. Additional thanks to USAFMTL for indulging me in my obsessive/compulsive disorder by helping decal every variant... ****************** Initial Release ************************ Version 2.0. Supersedes every Eagle released for the ThirdWire series with the exception of the stock ThirdWire F-15s and the F-15 ACTIVE. Includes the F-15C, F-15D, F-15E (2 versions), F-15I, F-15J, F-15DJ, F-15K, F-15S, and F-15SG. Be advised, uncompressed, this file will take up 2 GBs on your hard drive. Simply drag and drop into your mod directory, allow overwrites, and read the readmes! Thanks to the following folks: TK - For the ThirdWire series of sims. The Mirage Factory - For the nice F-15D MSIP aircraft...in particular Flying Toaster, wpnssgt, and Dave for making the F-15 MAX files available for me to play with. Kei Nagase - For the awesome skins for the F-15 ACTIVE. AleDucat - For the nice ACES II ejection seat models. Deuces - For the F-15 Afterburner and weapon effects. Diego - For the Modern USAF Pilot skins. Fubar512 - For the FM work. JimmyBib - For the F-15C cockpit flight control textures. MoonJumper - Avionics work. Sundowner - Textures. USAFMTL/Dave - Decals. Wpnssgt - Models, Textures. Kesselburt - Original F-15C cockpit. Kout - Loading and Hanger Screens. Kct - Textures and decals for the F-15SG. Brain32 - Improved/new textures for F-15C cockpit. Mago - F-15E Cockpit. 331KillerBee - SF2 Weapons Pack (basis for some of the weapons included). Lexx Luthor - Siberian Sky Experimental 3-D Rocket Exhaust JAT81500 - F-15E Cockpit avionics and HUD work. To my fellows at Combatace for helping me beta test and work out bugs. Any errors or mistakes are entirely mine. FastCargo 12 Jan 10 Click here to download this file
  11. Strike Fighters Android Review

    Who here has a smartphone? Or a tablet device? Or more and more frequently, one of both? Chances are, especially as a member of this forum, where most discussion is about games based on a computer, you have at least one of what are commonly called "Mobile" devices. More importantly, how many of you use these devices for something other than work? The majority of you do unless the device is company owned (even then that may not stop some of you). Mobile smart devices have become an increasingly integral part of our daily lives. And the numbers suggest they are becoming as important or more so than your computer. In fact, in 2011, half of the computing devices sold were mobile. Even more interesting is the amount of revenue mobile gaming (defined as gaming on a non-dedicated mobile device like a smartphone or tablet) earns, over 8 billion dollars in 2011. 2011 also saw mobile gaming earn more revenue than Sony and Nintendo (PSP and DS) combined. Does this mean PC gaming is dead, of course not. But it does mean that mobile gaming represents a significant market to be tapped into. And some traditional PC flying simulation developers have decided to expand their Intellectual Properties (IPs) into this new market. There is precedent for this move. Major gaming IPs such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, or HAWX, already have a presence in PC, Console, Handheld, and Mobile space. Games that were once limited to PC/consoles can now look and play very well on mobile devices. Initially, they were dedicated gaming devices such as the Playstation Portable, but now smartphones can rock out with games like GTA III or Max Payne, not to mention other IPs. Traditional PC flight simulations have tended to stay within their market (ie there is no Microsoft Flight Simulator console version or a DCS for the Nintendo DS). Usually due to the restrictions mobile devices put onto simulations, they haven't been very practical (lack of screen, keyboard inputs, computing power, etc). This has started to change, due to the increasing power mobile devices have. Which brings us to today. ThirdWire (TW), makers of the Strike Fighters (SF) series of combat flight simulations, has come out with its first mobile gaming application (or app) called...you guessed it, Strike Fighters Android (or SFA). Overview Right out of the gate, you are not going to get a desktop simulation experience on a mobile device...period. Those expecting such are in for a major disappointment no matter what you play. But, once you get over that restriction, your experience can be surprisingly enjoyable if the app works well. How did TW do on its freshman app? Read on! As a mobile app, the requirements are pretty short...in this case, this is only compatible with Android OS Version 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) or newer. The assumption of course is that any device running 2.3.3 or higher has the power to run SFA relatively well. It also requires 42MB of storage, which can be high compared to a lot of apps, but low compared to games like HAWX. The main reason for the size of the program is that all the content is in the program...there is nothing else to download, merely unlocked. The price is perfect for everyone...free! SFA is based on the Freeimum business model. Basically, you get the game for free, with a basic aircraft (the F-100A). You earn additional aircraft by either playing the game and advancing, or buying individual aircraft at $0.99 each. The game is ad supported, but purchase just one aircraft and all the ads are removed. More on the 'earning' process later. After the splash screen, this is what greets you: This is the main screen which most other navigation originates from. From top to bottom and left to right: 1. Yellow box - Level number 2. Green bar - Current points / Points until next level 3. Yellow key - Number of 'keys' available to unlock aircraft 4. Upper center box - Press to 'recalibrate' accelerometer 5. Gear - Settings screen 6. Campaign box - Campaign and current year progress (year disappears once campaign is complete) 7. Arrow keys - Used to cycle through available aircraft 8. Lower left circle - View specifications of current aircraft 9. Lower right circle - Plane symbol = Go fly Dollar Symbol = Purchase aircraft Key symbol = Unlock aircraft Lock symbol = Aircraft locked, no purchase or unlock key available (usually this is due to lack of internet connection). Settings screen: Most settings here are self explanatory, with the globe symbol being a link to the ThirdWire website. Specifications screen: Again, pretty self explanatory. Before we go fly, lets expand on how you get new aircraft and progress in the campaign. In the early game, keys are earned through level upgrades via points (100 points per downed aircraft) and by shooting down 5 bandits in a particular aircraft (does not have to be in the same game session). Every 5 shootdowns results in you advancing in the 'campaign' by one year. Note that as you continue to accumulate points, every level upgrade requires more points to get to the next level. Once you complete the campaign, the only two ways you can get additional aircraft is either purchasing them or earning points...the 5 shootdown accomplishment doesn't earn anything after ending the campaign. Also, even if you have keys available to unlock aircraft, the game will not let you unlock aircraft newer than the current campaign year. The only way to 'skip ahead' is to purchase aircraft. And those purchased aircraft do not unlock any other aircraft early (if you're in 1968 and you buy a F-16, you still can't unlock any other newer aircraft with keys). As you continue to advance in points, bandits' skills increase and they become more numerous. Their equipment gets better too. You can go back to play earlier aircraft (they are locked into a specific year) and you will encounter bandits appropriate to that year. Their skills and number do remain at the higher levels. Available player aircraft get better as you advance in years, with more and better missiles, increased performance, RWR and decoys (expendables). One thing that is not so obvious is time to play also increases...you can start out at 1:30 minutes per session and be up to 4:00 minutes by the end...time is dependant on particular version of aircraft, not just general year and basic model. Here's what it can look like once you'd played a few dozen times: ZOMG! F-16 in USAF colors! Enough about getting all the planes...how does it play? The fastest way to describe it is if you have played any of SF series in Instant Action with most of the 'helpers' on, and in 'Chase View', you'll feel right at home. Your typical screen: The consequences of 'spray and pray'... Look familiar? As folks who play the SF series of PC games know, TW tends to recycle a lot of stuff. SFA is no different, from the aircraft models and textures, to the terrain, effects, and even voices for 'Red Crown' and your (non-existent) wingman. The terrain and weather both randomize...it looks like the IsraelME terrain, sometimes with different, green textures from VietnamSEA. Bandits are shown with red boxes around them, with red triangles around enemy missiles. You'll see small red circles leading when enemies are close...basically they are 'aim dots' if you have a gun. When enemies are off screen, red arrowheads replace the red square, and a solid red triangle replaces the red triangle outline (when RWR is available) for missiles. The red arrowheads 'flash' when you are being shot at by an off screen bandit. The radar is omnidirectional, showing bandits in green, and if you have RWR, your missiles will show in yellow and enemy missiles will show in red. One thing to note is the scale is not uniform...the closer ring has a higher resolution. In other words, the inner ring is about 2 units, but the middle ring is about 5 and the outer is about 10. ZOMG! Teh Sexplane! Time to play is in the upper left, along with the pause button. Incidently, when paused, this is the only time you can change views and focused aircraft using the accelerometer and arrow keys on either side of the screen. When you are unpaused, it will revert right back to Chase View on your aircraft. No other views are available. I'm the guy in front... Upper middle is the recalibration button. Throttle controls, airspeed readout, gun and missile sights, altitude readout (including radar altitude when low) and weapons status/firing buttons are in the middle row of the screen...left to right to lower right corner. The throttle is sort of a blip type device....the aircraft defaults to near corner speed, and the throttle arrows are used to speed up (using AB if available) or slow down (using speed brake if available). However, once you release either, the aircraft will attempt to fly back toward corner speed on its own. The weapon status indicators are the firing buttons...just press them to fire. The lower left indicator is your RWR/decoy status indicator/deployment button (if you have decoys). Deployment works the same way as weapons. The accelerometer in your device is for roll and pitch control...there is no on screen joystick control available. Aircraft tend to be accurate appearing, flight controls moving correctly, and effects like smoke trails, afterburner, and gun smoke looking just like the PC version. Plus, missiles appear to be mounted properly, and will disappear as they are used, on friendly and enemy aircraft. Sounds as already noted come directly from the PC version, including radio calls. Gameplay Enemy aircraft are like balloons, usually destroyed (with no debris other than an explosion sprite) with a single missile or gun hit. Your aircraft can usually take a few gun hits or 2 missile hits before being destroyed. There is no degradation of capability or visual damage when getting hit other than a 'pop up' red bar showing total damage. No takeoffs or landings are included...you always start right in the action. The flight model is obviously more toward arcade as in stalls are not modeled (you merely mush down when you get slow with very little nose track). Aircraft appear to have built in G limits in that you can't over-G in either direction, which means your turn radius gets large and your nose track slows down as you get too fast. Notably, induced drag appears to be modeled...so techniques like unloading while accelerating appear to help verses just pitch and power modeling. Aircraft definitely have different FMs for each one...the MiG-17 is a hoot as a gunfighter. Collision between aircraft do not seem to be modeled, but ground impact is...both you and bandits are vulnerable to cumulus granite. Bandits start out as slow turning 'ducks' but get increasingly higher aspect and more aggressive as you advance...tending to come at you waves of 2 to 4 aircraft, up to a maximum of about 10 bandits on screen at a time. They seem to employ missiles properly. Missiles are limited to reflect real world loadouts. Guns are unlimited, with a twist - when you run out, you get auto reloaded...but it can take up to 15 seconds. That doesn't sound like a lot of time...but when you total gameplay time at most is only 4 minutes...it can be an eternity! Especially since you run out just as you get into optimal firing position (see first gameplay screenshot for an example of how NOT to use your ammo). Decoys are also limited...use wisely. They appear to be 100 percent effective when used. Missiles can also be defeated by maneuver...usually attempting to force a missile overshoot is the best way. Sadly, you won't be that effective against later missiles. Missile tactics are probably the most interesting part of the game. Infrared (IR) missiles have a round circle that shows up in your HUD...semi active radar homing (SARH) missiles use a diamond cursor. The cursors are auto targeting and will tend to home in on the closet in parameter target in front of you. To simulate the early IR missiles that were not all aspect, they won't try to track a target if the aspect angle isn't met. Both types of missiles have max and min ranges...outside those parameters, the seekers won't track either. Finally, SARH missiles work like the real thing...if you turn away from your target, the missile will break lock, unlike IR missiles which are fire and forget. BlueJay 4, do you have the target...? After all that, there are still more considerations. Once a missile cursor is tracking a bandit, a percentage counter starts winding up, giving you a probability of a hit if the missile was fired at that instant. Once it reaches 99 percent, it and the cursor start flashing. For IR missiles, 99 percent also means the lock 'tone' increases in volume. Most of your shots are guaranteed at this point. The problem is that early missiles have relatively slow cursors that are easy to pull off the target, resulting in the counter resetting. The counter itself is slow in the early missiles. It forces you to be smooth while tracking a bandit...assuming he's agreeable and assuming his friends don't take advantage of the 'rope a dope'. The game also penalizes the launch if you are pulling too hard or if the full up lock is transitory (say if the bandit breaks hard into you just after you fire). Considering some of the aircraft have no guns and not a whole lot of missiles (CF-104), it means every shot needs to count. Later aircraft have all aspect missiles, faster moving cursors and faster countdowns. But all your opponents have the same improvements...and they outnumber you. I have not been able to tell if bandits have expendables. RWR indications are as noted before but aircraft without RWR will still get a 'Missile Launch!' call and will get the red triangle outline on the missile if it is visible. Aircraft RWR will get the familiar 'lock on' and 'missile launch' tones from the PC version. Later aircraft have ECM listed, but I have not seen if that makes a difference in gameplay. Once you are done with your flight, this is the debrief screen. Guess which aircraft I was in... Again, very familiar looking. This is also where you will get notified if you have earned new aircraft/progressed in the campaign, etc. The game uses the Unity 3d engine, and my experience was very stable, no glitches, crashes or force close occurred with all the playing I did. It was smooth, only bogging down sometimes when the number of enemies exceeded 12. This has been fixed in a recent update. Conclusion Is this game worth getting? Value wise, considering it is free, it is hard to say it isn't worth at least trying. Buying aircraft is a different question. All aircraft can eventually be earned, so you don't have to spend a dime...just a lot of time doing the same kind of mission over and over. Is this a reasonable simulation? The answer is no...it is more an arcade game, though the missile employment shows some good simulation like aspects. Two excellent examples of flight simulation for mobile are F-Sim Space Shuttle (a shuttle approach and landing sim) and X-Plane. Both are much closer to actual simulators...and X-Plane has multiplayer! But no combat. Is this a good air combat game? The answer is yes, but with caveats. In some ways, it can be considered more like an 'air Quake' because it's basically you against everyone else, and the type of mission remains the same, with no takeoffs, landings, air to ground missions or cockpit view. But, the variety of aircraft is second to none, with many aircraft you can't find anywhere else on any platform except the PC versions of SF. ZOMG! Commie planes! A great example of the features I would like to see in a future mobile version of SFA is Air Navy Fighters for mobile. It has cockpit views, multi cameras, realistic takeoffs and landings, and a terrain/mission creator. The amount of flyables is small (F-18, F-14, and C-2), there are no air to air missions, and the air to ground weapons seem a bit too magic. In conclusion, for a freshmen attempt to get into the mobile space, SFA is solid offering. Blending arcade action with variety of aircraft that no one else offers, reasonable price to unlock aircraft, and a gaming mechanic that makes you want to earn 'just one more unlock!', you will find SFA a way to have some SF goodness anywhere you have your Android phone. Now if can just get enough points to unlock that guns only Mystere... Reviewed on a HP Touchpad running Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
  12. Version

    579 downloads

    Classified Mission Mod authored by FastCargo ********** Version 1.1 *********** Updated to be compatible with the Jan 2011 patch. ********** Version 1.0 *********** This is a small mod designed around ONE mission. It's footprint is relatively small, but all encompassing and everything is designed to execute this one mission. Make sure you read the "INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS - READ ME FIRST.TXT" file and follow the instructions explicitly, or you will mess something up! This is a complete modification to the Strike Fighters 2 sim (any of the SF2 series), and as such, is not guaranteed to be compatible with any additional mods or changes. Using anything from this mod, or adding anything to this mod, may 'break' the mod or the mod you are transferring stuff to. In short, use it as a stand alone mod and don't screw with it! ************ Installation ************* What you will need: 1. Any of the Strike Fighters 2 series (SF2, SF2V, SF2E, SF2I or merged) patched to the June 2010 level. *************Notes************ 1. This mod's effect is based heavily on surprise, so I would recommend not reading anything in the 'To Read AFTER The Mission' until, well, after you've flown the mod. The mod quite deliberately restricts several things on the sim in order to increase the effect...nothing has been permanently disabled or broken. So don't post that I broke your sim... 2. Enjoy it, look for some easter eggs, and definitely read the notes in the 'To Read AFTER The Mission' for some background information, disclaimers and credits...a lot of folks helped in making this mod. 7 Feb 11 FastCargo
  13. Skyviper, Not bad, the only thing you got wrong there is that you can't 'cut across' directly from Victor to Yankee 1. You have to take a left at Papa, then right on Whiskey, then left on Yankee 1. FC
  14. Tactically, it's actually not that useful to fly that close (what we call fingertip) to lead. The problem is simple...when you're that close, the majority of your attention is focused on maintaining position. To the point where your SA outside of that focus is low...you can't clear lead's 6, nor your own, nor help with threat reaction, sort, etc. Here's a sad example of what that can lead to: 1982 Thunderbirds Crash There are a few reasons that it is flown though. 1) It looks good. 2) It is good practice for air refueling. 3) It allows lead to bring multiple aircraft through the weather (cloud, fog, etc). Otherwise, if the aircraft are not in sight of each other, you have to get altitude or significant distance separation so as to not risk collision, which stretches out your 'space' you take up in crowded airspace. When the weather is clear, it's not a big deal to fly all sorts of formations at varying distances to help with clearing and checks. But, when the weather sucks, you HAVE to be close, or be far away. Flying into a busy international airport can be very challenging, especially for single seaters, where one person is managing the aircraft and all the systems. I've flown in some of the busiest civilian airspaces and airports, in both crew and single seat aircraft. It is not a time for dicking around...controllers will have no hesitation to boot you out if you aren't on your 'A' game. And taxiing at some of the larger airports is a challenge in and of itself. Check out this taxi diagram: Imagine you've just landed on Runway 9 and you've got to taxi to US Customs but taxiway Z is closed between runways 12 and 8R including the intersections, so now you've got to go through the terminal area. Your instructions are 'Roper XX, taxi via Victor, cross 12, Papa, Whiskey, Yankee 1, Yankee, hold short taxiway Mike'. That only takes you halfway...and you can't turn in the wrong direction or you could find yourself beak to beak with a A380. And most aircraft don't have a 'reverse' gear... And just imagine the fun at airports where instead of using a alpha numeric combo, taxiways use alpha alpha combo (ie instead of W1, W2, you get WA, WB, WC, etc...). FC
  15. File Name: Classified Mission Mod (Version 1.1) File Submitter: FastCargo File Submitted: 31 October 2010 File Updated: 07 February 2011 File Category: SF2 Series Add On Missions and Campaigns Classified Mission Mod authored by FastCargo ********** Version 1.1 *********** Updated to be compatible with the Jan 2011 patch. ********** Version 1.0 *********** This is a small mod designed around ONE mission. It's footprint is relatively small, but all encompassing and everything is designed to execute this one mission. Make sure you read the "INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS - READ ME FIRST.TXT" file and follow the instructions explicitly, or you will mess something up! This is a complete modification to the Strike Fighters 2 sim (any of the SF2 series), and as such, is not guaranteed to be compatible with any additional mods or changes. Using anything from this mod, or adding anything to this mod, may 'break' the mod or the mod you are transferring stuff to. In short, use it as a stand alone mod and don't screw with it! ************ Installation ************* What you will need: 1. Any of the Strike Fighters 2 series (SF2, SF2V, SF2E, SF2I or merged) patched to the June 2010 level. *************Notes************ 1. This mod's effect is based heavily on surprise, so I would recommend not reading anything in the 'To Read AFTER The Mission' until, well, after you've flown the mod. The mod quite deliberately restricts several things on the sim in order to increase the effect...nothing has been permanently disabled or broken. So don't post that I broke your sim... 2. Enjoy it, look for some easter eggs, and definitely read the notes in the 'To Read AFTER The Mission' for some background information, disclaimers and credits...a lot of folks helped in making this mod. 7 Feb 11 FastCargo Click here to download this file
  16. Alrighty folks, looks like the fam and I are going to be visiting England for about a week at the end of June, and looking for some tourist kind of advice. Here is the plan so far. Assuming a week in GB, one day of arrival, one day of departure, which leaves 5 days free. After evaluation, we decided we would like to stay in London, with one large day trip and one small trip (local London area) every day. Some things we are already planning: Royal Air Force Museum Cosford - West Midlands (hello TSR2!) Natural History Museum Stonehenge Cambridge and some local London stuff London Eye City of London perimeter walk So, for you local folks, what would you consider checking out? I'll have an 11 year old who likes aircraft, space, science, and other typical stuff for a boy his age. I'll also have my wife along. We enjoy most of that stuff. The only thing we probably wouldn't enjoy as much is pure art museums. So, ideas? Including a 'base of operations' for the week in London? FC
  17. Question for those living in England...

    Oh we figured that....I don't plan on driving anywhere. The exceptions MIGHT be for areas that are unreachable by tube, train or bus and prohibitively expensive taxi. Even then I'm not sure I'd trust myself driving...other side of the road and all that. FC
  18. I wasn't offended...didn't mean to come off that way. Just was providing a quick answer. Which is unfortunate...I wish we did have a nicer F-15E cockpit. But cockpits are probably the most difficult thing to do well in this sim (actually, probably just about any flight sim). FC
  19. Question for those living in England...

    Keep 'em coming folks...those are some good ideas there! Also, my wife (who visited London 25 years ago) says that there is so much to do and see that 5 days really isn't enough, so we're increasing to 7 days plus a travel day on each end. FC
  20. Falcon 4.0 BMS 4.33 now released

    Heh, makes you wonder considering the timing of the GOG release of Falcon barely a few weeks ago... FC
  21. FastCargo's Helicopter Lesson

    Honestly, I probably won't be going back...mainly because of expense. I had a blast, even though I probably worked harder on that flight than I have in a long time in almost any other airframe. Most fixed wing flying is fairly consistent across different types of airframes. If you are a decent pilot in one type airframe, you can probably be functional (note, NOT an expert) in most others with very little training. Other than things like tail draggers or floatplanes/amphibians, you'd probably get the basics in a particular airframe pretty quickly. Helicopter flying, for as much of a cliché as it sounds, is fundamentally different once you slow below translational speed. It really does involve a different set of priorities, especially for things that require precision positioning. In a light helo, like the R44, it's more noticeable because you are dealing with positional references in fractions of individual meters. You can get away with some slop in a Cessna or an ultralight...not so much when you're trying to hover within a foot of a reference position in all 3 dimensions. It really was a lot of fun, and I did find it a true challenge. But it wouldn't be cheap and between the expense and time needed to get comfortable, I just don't think it's going to happen. FC
  22. Falcon series released on GOG.com

    Awesome! No more do you have to search for dodgy torrents, or buy an old F4 disk off of eBay (not like I had to worry about either of those, but still). Agreed, insta-buy! FC
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