Monday, December 23, 2013

vLSO beta

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all of you fellow simmers!
My Christmas gift is waiting for you right here on the sidebar. Have fun!

WARNING - this beta is compatible with other 0.7.* betas, but I have slightly changed sounds naming system, so you should remove (or rename) the vLSO Sound folder prior to unzipping this package.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

beta WIP

Ok guys,
Here's my quick WIP report. Thanks to Goonie, who gave me a heads up, there will be some new features in the upcoming beta:
1. A 'Clara' option.
Read this post and watch the attached video. Cool! In FSX you can also find yourself in trouble where you can't see the ball, either in heavy fog or being 'sun blinded'...
See the pictures - can you call the ball? ;-)

So, in situations like these you will be able to call 'Clara' (as in real life) and vLSO will try to talk you down to the wires. Some necessary changes to the interface are being applied:

2. Changing audio samples after each successful landing.
Currently the program randomly selects LSO audio samples upon its startup and then plays them until you exit. With the new version you will hear different LSO voices each time you trap.

Other features in my to do list are:
  • Aircraft rollback after landing on the deck (as in real life)
  • Random waveoffs during FCLP and carrier practice (as in real life)
  • Logbook export to a separate Greenieboard program.
That's all. folks! :)))

Saturday, July 20, 2013

NOLF Coupeville is here

Ok guys,
At last, the Coupeville photo realistic scenery is ready to test. If you have any other KNRA versions (either mine or someone else's) installed, please remove (or disable) them first. I have also revoked my FCLP vol.3 pack, based on the old-style Coupeville scenery. Maybe I'll create a new one for my and Brandon's new photo realistic sceneries...
As my first photo scenery, NALF Fentress, this new scenery features night and seasonal textures, two authentic LSO shacks, two IFLOLS set to 3.75 degrees and two carrier boxes with night lighting.

Hope you will enjoy this new Coupeville scenery. Feel free to report any bugs or glitches, as well as suggestions or criticism...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

NOLF Coupeville reborn again

Well, guys...
After releasing my first photo scenery, NALF Fentress, I couldn't resist the temptation of making the KNRA scenery photo realistic too. So it is reborn once again, now as a photo realistic scenery. Here are some WIP screenshots:
Runway 32 approach

Runway 14 approach

The weather radar

The tower and other buildings at NOLF Coupeville
When applying satellite images, another FSX glitch was revealed - the default WN40 Coupeville Airpark was misplaced and misaligned, just like the default KNRA field was. Had to fix that too:
The right position of WN40 field

Generally, I'm happy with this new look of the scenery. I just have to tweak seasonal textures and vegetation. It's a matter of a few days... ;-)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

NOLF Choctaw issue solved

I'm sorry I've missed a BGL file which was a part of Brandon's original scenery pack. The lack of this file causes the runway elevation issues. To solve this problem just re-download the Choctaw scenery and unzip it to the main FSX folder (overwriting existing files) or just unzip the missing knfj_adex_bt_alt.bgl to the FSX Scenery/World/Scenery folder.

Monday, July 8, 2013

vLSO beta

Yet another beta... ))) This time just two minor bugs fixed - with the Delete button and with the 'Choose a runway' menu option. This beta is compatible with all previous 0.7.* versions.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two more FCLP sceneries

At last, two beautiful photo realistic sceneries made by Brandon Thetford became vLSO compatible - KNFJ NOLF Choctaw and KNJW NALF Joe Williams. Now you can enjoy day and night FCLPs at these locations. These two are modified versions of Brandon's original well known sceneries; this means that if you have the original sceneries installed, you should disable them (or remove) prior to installing these new sceneries. The installation procedure is pretty simple:
  1. Unzip to the FSX/Addon Scenery folder.
  2. In FSX go to World - Scenery Library
  3. Click 'Add Area'
  4. Select the 'KNFJ_FCLP' or 'KNJW_FCLP' scenery from the 'Addon Scenery' folder.
  5. Click OK.

 Happy landings!

PS. Both sceneries feature two carrier boxes with night lighting and two Mk14 IFLOLS.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NALF Fentress + vLSO

Ok, guys
Now you can download and test another vLSO version with my first photorealistic Fentress scenery.
This new version supports multiple FCLP runways, and there are two working FCLP runways at Fentress. Also, from now on all my FCLP sceneries will have unidirectional carrier deck lighting, as in real life.
Enjoy and feel free to give your feedback!

EDIT. I forgot to include the Sound folder to the package. A corrected ZIP file is on the sidebar. If your beta download was just redownload the correct one,

Thursday, June 13, 2013

NALF Fentress update [2]

Just a quick WIP update...
Well, my night and seasonal textures are ready and I'm happy with what I've got. I used sat images from various sources at the highest resolution possible, which is about 60cm/pixel. Nevertheless, the total size of the scenery is still under 30M.

Last fall real Fentress was reopened  with major improvements including a brand new runway with nearly 2,000 feet of smooth white concrete at each end, leveled with the new middle section of asphalt, two new LSO shacks, LED lighting along the runway, taxiway, in the carrier box and signs. As you can see, my FSX version of Fentress runway is wholly concrete and it perfectly matches photoreal backgrounds.
The new LSO shacks provide improved visibility for LSOs to observe aircraft approaches and landings. Besides, the new shacks feature a unique 'green house' style:

What's next? Ok, next my builders gang will start painting two carrier boxes at each runway ends and then mount carrier deck lights. This time the lights will be unidirectional, like real old L-852N used for carrier boxes. Carrier deck lights will be the only lights around since “It is an ideal location because of the lighting, or lack thereof,” explained Fentress Officer in Charge Lt. Jimmy Navarro. “It basically mirrors what they would see when they’re landing on an aircraft carrier, because there’s no lights around. It’s a tremendous challenge. That’s what Fentress does for the guys.”

Sunday, June 9, 2013

NALF Fentress update

The NALF Fentress scenery now gets photorealistic. And again, FSX puzzled me a lot. The satellite imagery from various sources reveal that the default Fentress runway is misplaced. Notice it's wrong position and direction:
Well, having sat images at handy I thought why not to try creating a photo scenery? Reading forums and SDK, learning tools and programs, and voila - here's my first ever photoscenery:
Runway 05
Runway 23
Old and abandoned runways
A new LSO shack
Of course, this is just a beginning and there's still enough work to do - night and seasonal textures, color corrections here and there, adding FCLP stuff etc., but in general the scenery looks nice and smoothly blends into the existing landscape.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

NOLF Coupeville renewal

As texassal at the FSDT forum has pointed out that "in the case of Coupeville, the scenery/runway supplied doesn't match that which folks already have installed (in my case I use Mega Scenery Earth which is a faithful representation from Google Earth sources)." I promptly checked my KNRA scenery out and found that the scenery actually didn't match the real one because of 4 degree discrepancy. There's a good quality scenery  made by chuck79 with photoreal textures. I used this scenery as a reference, so my runway now matches the real one. This scenery also features some airfield buildings and stuff, looking more or less authentic. Fortunately, Flickr fotos by AvgeekJoe revealed the  real deal and I thought why not to make the scenery and its buildings even more authentic? ;-) So I had to create them from scratch. This time I used Google Sketchup. It's a easy to use tool, by the way, and here are some screenshots of my current work:
A general view
The Coupeville tower
The fire depot

The Coupeville weather radar

Friday, May 17, 2013

More FCLP locations to come 2

Good news - two more OLFs by Brandon Thetford will be vLSO compatible soon - his brilliant Choctaw and Joe Williams sceneries. These sceneries feature photorealistic backgrounds and authentic custom objects.
I add a IFLOLS Mk14 and a carrier box with deck lights on each end of runway.

Choctaw R36, day
Choctaw R18, dusk
Joe Williams R31, day
Joe Williams fly-by, dusk  

So, there will be four FCLP locations compatible with vLSO - NOLF Coupeville, NALF Fentress, NOLF Choctaw and NOLF Joe Williams.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

More FCLP locations to come

Well, at last I dusted off my trusty Gmax and other modeling stuff and started working on a new FCLP location - NALF Fentress. This time I'm going to make usable both runways at Fentress. This means there will be two IFLOLS, two LSO shacks, two carrier boxes with lighting and two abeam lights. Oh, and two wind socks, of course! ))) So, you will be able to choose a runway to bounce depending on winds...

Carrier box at Runway 23

Saturday, May 4, 2013

vLSO update

At texxasal's request at the FSDT forum, I have added support for more AI carriers. These carriers are actually Javier's Nimitz repaints, nicely made by Gary Taylor for TacPack (as far as I know). Nine more ships for the fleet:
  •   CVN70 USS Carl Vinson 
  •   CVN71 USS Theodore Roosevelt
  •   CVN72 USS Abraham Lincoln
  •   CVN73 USS George Washington
  •   CVN74 USS John C. Stennis
  •   CVN75 USS Harry S. Truman
  •   CVN76 USS Ronald Reagan
  •   CVN77 USS George H.W. Bush
  •   CVN65 USS Enterprise (repaint only)
As the latter is a repaint only, it retains all Nimitz-class carrier's geometry. To land on actual USS Enterprise, get one made by SDB team.

This version is compatible with and betas.

Monday, April 15, 2013

vLSO update

Clive at FSDT forum has reported that the program didn't work with the Coupeville FCLP scenery. As it appeared, he has installed it in a folder other than the FSX Addon Scenery folder. The FSX scenery config stores relative paths, whereas vLSO supposed they're absolute to the FSX main folder. This bug now fixed, so you can update the exe file only (anything else remains intact).
There's no other changes to the program, so those of you who install sceneries in the Addon Scenery folder may continue using

Saturday, April 13, 2013

vLSO is here

Ok, now it is ready to fly.
This is a full version with all that stuff, It is not compatible with any previous versions, so don't forget to remove your Logbook.dat.

What's new:

  • New internal sound system
  • Some GUI changes
  • Auto extendable drogue on the S-3B tanker
  • F-35C support
  • Two separate logbooks for CV and FCLP, stored in one file
  • Multiple carriers support (up to 7)
  • AoA, VSI and KIAS debriefing informer
  • CVN65 and HMS Ark Royal support (both with FSX FLOLS)
  • FCLP sceneries support

A new FCLP scenery and three missions are here as well - use the sidebar link. Download, read and install.

Happy flying!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

vLSO 0.7 news [sound]

Well, for the last few days I've been struggling with a nasty glitch in my program. As it turned out, the problem was in a piece of sound software, which didn't work as advertized and caused sudden hangups during an approach... This part of the program is being replaced now and it will take a few more days to code, test and debug.

Monday, April 1, 2013

vLSO 0.7 news [FCLP]

This version will support FCLP and the first FCLP location will be NOLF Coupeville. This scenery is a part of my FCLP missions pack vol.2 with only one file added for vLSO compatibility. The IFLOLS remains set to 3.75. These screenshots were taken from my last bouncing session with some head wind. Landing with 16 knots WOD with gusts turned into a challenging endeavour, so my average grade was a stitch )))) Practice, practice and practice...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

vLSO WIP update

Ok, guys
The new 0.7 beta will support multiple carriers (up to 7 carriers).

Two new carriers - CVN65 Enterprise (by SDB team) and HMS Ark Royal IV (by Flying Stations team) - will be supported as well. Both in versions with standard FLOLS, not with custom OLS, which requires some additional coding.

Another feature of the 0.7 will be full FCLP support. At the time the only location the program will support is NOLF Coupeville. This will be my Coupeville scenery, made for FCLP pack vol.2, but slightly modified. I also plan to add two or three missions to fly FCLPs at Coupeville. The next FCLP location will most likely be NALF Fentress.

The ETA of the new beta is probably the end of this month (March)...

Dino has released his new F-14D, so my promised Black Bunny repaint is available now (see the side panel link).

Monday, February 25, 2013

New sounds for Dino's new Super Tomcat

Ok, a new sounpack is almost ready, check up on this preview:

Some minor tweaks remained... The Black Bunny repaint will be available as a separate download shortly after Dino's new F-14D is released .

Thursday, February 21, 2013

WIP: F-14D repaint

So far so good...  My Black Bunny repaint for Dino's Super Tomcat is 95% ready. Here are some screenshots of this gorgeous paintscheme:

Dino will decide to include this repaint in his open beta release or not (the overall size of his package is important)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Some good news.
First, the refueling drogue of the S-3B tanker now automatically extends when you're getting closer 500' and retracts when you are beyound this range. This particular IRIS S-3B freeware model supports the water rudder command (assigned in FSX to Ctrl-W by default), which toggles the drogue. And this command works in AI mode as well. So, vLSO now sends via SimConnect water rudder commands to control this thing.

Another big change to the program is completely new aircraft carrier detection and support system. All previous versions supposed there's only one carrier within 20 km range. But what about sceneries/missions with two or more cariers sailing line abreast?

And what about carriers, being added to the simulation via programs like AICarriers2?..

No problem, because vLSO now monitors ALL carriers in FSX world. As your aircraft enters the Carrier Control Area (a 50 NM radius around the carrier) of a carrier, this ship is given more scrutiny. 
When  you're within the single carrier's CCA, that single carrier automatically becomes your active carrier, i.e. the one with active LSO, monitoring your approaches.
If you're within two or more carrers' CCA, you will be given a dialog/menu choice of these carriers. Of course, you'll be able to change your active carrier at any time.

I still have not decided on number of carriers, due to some technical reasons (or FSX limitations). Most likely this number will be limited to no more than 9 carriers. More than enough, I guess...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The beta is here

Finally I have added a long-awaited feature - Air-to-air refueling. Now you can simulate 'organic tanking' during carrier operations.
Another improvement is a new weather acquisition system. The old one caused some inconsistencies. I hope that the new system will be reliable and sound.

Here are a couple of screenies taken during AAR tests with this beta:

It was very challenging to stay close behind the tanker with my old noisy X45 stick...

A freeware S-3B flew at 3,000 ft with the speed of 220 knots. The pattern is a racetrack some 9x3 nm and takes approximately 6 min to fly full circle. The tanker starts overhead the carrier and follows its BRC.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Another bug fixed

Al Rosenberg at FSDT forum gave me a head-up, which helped to fix a very nasty bug. It was in weather requests. As it appeared, for some missions FSX answers weather requests, for some doesn't. I don't know why, but will try to find the answer. The weather condition is used to determine some CASE parameters. So, if the weather is unknown, vLSO can't find a carrier.

The beta is free of this bug.

PS. I have added to the sidebar a full beta package, so those starting from scratch can get it and use vLSO immediately. But read the included PDF first )))

PPS. I'll be removing the bottommost links as they become obsolete.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Getting started....

Welcome aboard, fellow simmers!
This blog is for you, virtual carrier ops addicts.
My primary intention is to share information on my vLSO project - current versions, updates, bugreports, suggestions, ideas, etc...However I'm open to discuss many other flight sim matters - mission and scenery building, aircraft repaints, XML coding and such...