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  1. F-14A/B DEVELOPMENT UPDATE #2 Dear All, It's been another busy period for the team entire team at Leatherneck. Not only in terms of development and progressing on our current stable of projects – but also with unfolding personal events. Family deaths, day-job commitments and more have yielded a rather muted visible public presence. Progress has not been impaired in any way; and we're very excited to move into the latter half of 2015. A considerable amount of the teams' focus has been on projects other than the F-14, including the MiG-21bis. While that may sound disappointing; it must be noted that several technologies developed for one of our other aircraft can directly be drawn upon to shorten the development time of the F-14. Elements include e.g. HUD elements or Navigational implementations. We've also spent an additional chunk of time on refinement of our internal tools, in particular a Flight Modeling Visualizer. We will go into deeper depth on our other projects in an upcoming all- Leatherneck-encompassing newsletter, so for now; lets focus on the F-14. The Art team's primary focus has been on assuring proper integration with the F-14 codebase and DCS engine. This is a particularly boring aspect of art asset development; albeit very necessary so as to allow the programming team to boundlessly progress. Examples include defining clickable areas, animations and creating 2D bitmaps that will be drawn on various indicators and screens. We've almost completely finished this process and thus the main focus will again shift to traditional artistry. The biggest task ahead is texturing both the interior and exterior elements of the aircraft. We're currently evaluating a few new sculpting-based techniques that we hope will yield incredible fidelity and texture depth. Our working version of the aircraft is still currently based around a -B model exterior and -A model interior. However, work progresses on the -A exterior, starting with completion of the TF-30 engines and exhausts for the -A model tomcat. More notable adjustments of the shape and equipment to fall in line with an -A are forthcoming. Some of our sharp-eyed community members (you know who you are!) noticed various flaws in the initial renders we posted. Sincere gratitude for your sharp eyes, and we've already rolled in some of these corrections. Examples include widening the main engine intakes and canting the main gear. As with all of our development, we adhere to a very iterative process and you should always consider anything shown to be Work in Progress. Additionally, we've gone ahead and continued on sculpting our pilot and RIO models. We're certainly paying very close attention to ensure a high level of detailing and accuracy. We have plans for these models beyond the standard in-cockpit / external pilots you are currently used to; features that will hopefully significantly improve immersion. You should expect this particular model to look practically identical in-game, as most of the detail will be baked down into normal and diffuse maps. After completion of the Hydraulic and some Electrical systems, the programming team has shifted focus to the development of the TF-30 and F-110 engines. This particular task will require a significant amount of time to develop, as both engines have unique properties and a lot of interconnected dependencies that need to be recreated and tested. Thus, elements of the AICS, Fuel System, Pilot Controls must all be in place before all elements of our new engine simulation can be recreated. We are of course fully committed to ensuring that we model as many of the various characteristics and quirks of both engines. Some of these quirks have massive impact on how you fly and fight in the aircraft, thus we must be certain that we get it completely right. We hope that both reliance on documentation and SMEs will allow us to achieve this level of fidelity. Our FM simulation is highly dependent on all of the Engine and Flight Controls being completely in place, so as to ensure that all base parameters are correct before attempting to simulate the movement of the aircraft. Of course, it goes without saying that every facet of the F-14's flight envelope will be modeled to the fullest extent possible. Unlike what some of you fear, we are not limited in any way in what we can model or simulate, including more complex factors, such as variable geometry wing surfaces. Once the engine and flight controls are in place, the team will move on to creating all auxiliary control system functionality. This includes elements such as brakes, hooks, refueling probes, canopy jettison, and much more. The F-14 Product Page is about to go live and is undergoing final tweaks. It will contain a considerable amount of depth on various subjects, most of it however has already been covered in the forums. The F-14 page is part of a wider website update which includes a new News section that will host our more frequent, unscheduled updates. During and after our initial announcement, many of you had questions about various aspects of development and the planned module roadmap in general. I've tried to gather as many of these as possible, but feel free to write more below and I will add as many as I possibly can. Q: Which particular Airframe era will you be simulating? We're still ironing out some specifics here; but we're aiming for a mid-to late 80s' airframe for the -A, and mid 90s' for the -B. Thus, some features such as the glove vanes will be disabled, while some advancements and improvements in the aircraft will be included. Q: Are you sure about those Glove Vanes? A: We'll be, at the very least, adding a visual option. It is possible that we will simulate the aerodynamic impact of the glove vanes further down the line. Q: Will you be separating the -A and -B model Tomcats in the sim? A: Indeed! It is also possible that one model will be released some time before the other. Q: How much will it cost, and will both versions be sold together? A: Details to be disclosed at a later time; but do not expect any kind of exorbitant or non-standard pricing. Q: Where can I pre-order? A: There is currently no pre-order or pledge package available. It is likely that we'll be running a pre-order program at some point prior to release, however. Q: Will Air-to-Ground Capability be included? A: Yes; however the specific A2G and sensor capability that will be modeled is yet to be decided. You can note in the renders posted, that the BRU-32 bomb rack is mounted to the Phoenix pylons on the underside of the fuselage. Q: Which Chin Sensor Pod will the Aircraft utilize? A: TCS & ALQ-100 Antenna. The bullet fairing visual option will be included. Q: Will Carrier Operations be included at Release? A: We are networking together with our partners to ensure a complete package upon release, however the complex nature of the task at hand lends itself to a cautious approach in saying anything definitive. Q: Will Multiplayer Multi-Crew be available at Release? A: We hope to include this feature on release. We consider it an essential selling point of this module, and a personal dream of our own. Q: What do you mean by the AIM-54 being based on a 'CFD' Simulation? A: We will be using Computer Fluid Dynamics simulations to the fullest extent possible in order to ensure proper accuracy and fidelity of the AIM-54 Phoenix missile flight dynamics. While this particular missile is very difficult to sufficient documentation on; we are investing heavily into ensuring that our recreation of it is true to life. Q: Will Night Vision be available? A: Yes. Q: What is JESTER AI, exactly? A: It is a proprietary system that primarily simulates the RIO crew member. It will allow you to quickly and efficiently fly and fight in the F-14, while minimizing your workload. JESTER AI will be fully voiced and highly streamlined. The system will be designed to be moduler, and can thus be quickly adapted to other multi-seat aircraft in development. Q: Will Multi-Seat licensing be a thing? (RIO Only License, etc.) A: Possibly. We do like some of the ideas brought forward; but nothing definitive as of yet. It's more likely we'll stick to just a single license. Q: Will Iranian Tomcats be included? A: Yes! We have several Iranian liveries planned. We also plan to model the older MBU-5/P mask in use by the Iranian Air Force. Q: Will you include a HGU-55 helmet option? A: Not planned at this time. Q: That looks like it has way too many polygons! A: We learned our lesson with the rocky performance of the MiG-21 on release, and are taking care to keep performance at a significantly better level. Much of the detail you see is simply normal maps baked down from high-poly sculpts; thus, they already perform very well! Q: Which theatre will be included with the F-14? A: Very oceany. Very cold. The F-14 Campaign will take place in this theatre. Q: Why not GOOSE AI? A: Goose is dead, man. Q: Any possibility of an MP / COOP Campaign? A: Not planned at this time; however, we do intend to support the F-14 with significant after-market content, especially taking into consideration the Straights of Hormuz theatre. It can be noted that the SP campaign can likely be easily edited to allow for more players. Q: What should I do during my inevitable divorce? A: More Fleet BARCAP. Q: Will random failures and issues be modeled? A: Yes! We have a slew of unique and new features planned here that should introduce some RPG-esque elements into your gameplay experience, should you wish it. Q: Will JESTER AI be able to handle Piloting duties as well? A: Likely to some very limited extent. That is all for F-14 development at this point. During the next month you should expect to see some strong visual progress on both exterior and interior textures. We're very excited to move forward and to start seeing our vision come to life. Sincerely, Leatherneck Simulations __________________ /Nicholas Dackard
  2. Dear all, Welcome to the very awesome (boring) very first (meagre) issue of the new monthly Leatherneck Simulations updates! It's been a while since the last official LNS update, but don't fret – we've been as busy as ever behind the scenes. Our primary focus over the past few months has been on wrapping up the MiG-21, completing various auxiliary and management tasks, as well as gradually transitioning into our next project(s). We are incredibly excited to venture into the new year and experience all that lies therein. Without a doubt, DCS will be bigger and better than it has ever been before. We couldn't have been as successful as we have been in 2014 without the massive amount of support from everyone. Heartfelt thank you from the entire LNS team go out to all media representatives, streamers or writers who took the time to assess our product, the ever-patient and fantastic community, and the talented individuals at Eagle Dynamics & The Fighter Collection, who have gone above and beyond more frequently than I can count. We can't thank you all enough! As we've come some ways since release of the MiG-21, we are afforded the clarity of a distanced retrospective on what went right and wrong before, during and after release of the MiG-21. After taking an honest look at ourselves and what we should change moving forward, we have made some changes in how Leatherneck operates and produces content. The MiG-21 modules' development and release has been a learning experience in many ways, and we will be applying this new-found knowledge to better ourselves as we develop new and exciting products. One of the items that have been on the back-burner for a while have been the backer rewards. We've simply not had the resources available to design and produce these items in the immediate post-release period. We currently have quotes and suppliers for everything slated for production, but still have some decisions to make as to what we'll actually opt to go for. Some physical rewards will be consolidated into bigger items. This mainly refers to smaller items such as stickers. We hope to provide amicable options for all backers, but more importantly: ship only actually useful and well-crafted items. Quality over quantity, as it were. We hope to order production runs on these items during the course of January, and ship them to all backers as soon as they are delivered (est. February). The DVD jewelcase artwork will be based on the cover you can currently find on the ED E-Store (here) It will of course be expanded to encompass both sides of the case. Many of you opted for higher backer tiers during the crowdfunding campaign of 2012, and you are thus entitled to more than one MiG-21 key. These keys will be merged into the main key database and sent out in January. Apologies for the long delay on getting these out. The MiG-21 is our first product and thus it has without a doubt been a considerable learning experience. Despite our best efforts, a significant amount of flaws were pushed with the release build of the aircraft. We've put in a concentrated effort in order to eradicate these as quickly as possible, and we hope that progress has been palpable for the end-user. Nonetheless, there are a number of both large and small improvements and fixes still pending. Listed below are some of the major additions planned: New & improved sounds, both in interior and exterior views. Based on real MiG-21 samples. Improved Engine RPM Feedback and immersion. Improved radar screen visual representation. Re-Introduction of red cockpit floodlights Performance improvements wherever possible. Major improvements in exterior 3d model accuracy (pylon tilt, wing thickness, gear door shape, front windshield fuselage joint and more) New AAA quality pilot model in the cockpit (toggleable) (in conjunction with previous) Animated and correct post-ejection pilot model & animations Improved artwork & textures for various ordinance (SPS-141, ASO-2, Atomic bombs and more) Default cockpit livery variations. (Green, Finnish, etc.) 10+ New default liveries. (Bulgarian, Polish, Czech, GDR, Cuba, and much more) Re-introduction of tactical numbering We apologize for any inconvenience caused by issues found in the MiG-21, we hope they have not been too detrimental in your enjoyment of the aircraft. Also, a big thank you to all of you who have been diligently submitting helpful bug reports, they are simply priceless. As we move closer to the release of our next module, we plan to significantly expand the size of our internal testing team. We hope to reduce the amount of release-build bugs in any future product launches. In the next few weeks we also hope to resolve some of the silly activation errors occuring and causing issues for some users. This includes options to properly deactivate the module. While we wanted to release the paint kit immediately after release, we quickly realized that this was not quite feasible considering the amount of 3D and 2D changes coming with the updated and improved external 3D Artwork. Thus; we decided to delay the paint kit until the very final version of the external model is released. We know how frustrating it can be to update broken liveries, both as livery creators and end-users, so we'll make sure to try and keep any retroactive art changes to a minimum in the future. The updated external model is slated to arrive with DCS 2.0, so expect the Paint Kit at around the same time. The 10+ additional liveries that were created prior to release will also be made available at this time. Special thanks to Matija Huzjak for a beautiful Croatian Air Force skin that will be included in the package. The fine gentlemen at ThreeAppsStudios Studios (https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...reeAppsStudios) have created a great Android based application to help you fly the MiG-21. You can find it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...sstudios.mig21 We'd like to extend our gratitude to Milan and his team for their perseverance and excellent craftsmanship. Hope to work with you again soon! 2015 will mark a year of considerable growth and expansion for Leatherneck Simulations. This will ensure that we are prepared to meet the ambitious content production goals that we have set forth for ourselves for the next few years. Reinvestment of resources into all facets of our business will allow us to provide you all with better and far more content than before. Since the release of the MiG-21, we have already grown to double our initial size. We'll be introducing you to each of our new members in the coming months. We expect to add yet another 3-4 members to our staff during Q1 of 2015. This, in addition to a new permanent office location in Swinoujscie, Poland. The release and performance of the MiG-21 solidifies our investment into DCS, and we remain genuinely committed to the flight simulation genre. We are here to stay for a long time to come. Currently we have three aircraft in advanced states of development, with a few more in mixed, but primarily earlier stages. We have already hinted heavily at one of the advanced ones, and we'll be showcasing more on all three as we get closer to their respective release dates. You shouldn't expect to have to wait until 2016 to fly a new Leatherneck module. Overall, we are confident that we will be able to cater to almost all of your tastes. Maybe we'll even manage to avoid the pitchforks. Regardless of the aircraft, we will always be trying to push the envelope, both in simulation and visual fidelity. Various planned features will require solving difficult design challenges (related to both gameplay and technical considerations), but we are confident in our ability to overcome these. By applying everything we've learned during the MiG-21's protracted development, we can focus on improving ourselves and building on our existing standards. Some of you have raised concerns about certain features or requirements precluding the development of various aircraft, but we do not currently feel limited by any such considerations. Moving away from aircraft, EDGE now affords us the ability to build new theaters and complement our aircraft with appropriate campaigns and missions. Currently, we have development plans stretching across a wide variety of locales and eras. Maps built by Leatherneck will adhere to the same rigorous standards we place upon our aircraft modules, and will be based on an appropriate fusion of artistic skill and real-world data. We did plan to push a little.. something out today to tease what is to come; but following an untimely missplaced bill, our site is still down, so it will have to wait a little longer. You'll live. I hope? This post turned out to far too long considering the meagre content. Excuse the long-windedness, and expect the next monthly update to be far more image heavy. Once again, thank you all for your unwavering dedication and support. It means the world to us. Stay tuned and expect to hear from us very soon. Sincerely, Leatherneck Simulations N, M, N, R, T, C, A, A __________________ /Nicholas Dackard Artist Leatherneck Simulations EVERYTHING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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